New York Doesn’t Make the Grade

ALALike most of you, report cards were always a big deal in my household when I was growing up.  I can only imagine what would have happened if I came home with two A’s and two F’s!

Those are the grades New York State earned in the American Lung Association’s recently released State of Tobacco Control 2013 report.  While the report gives New York a “thumbs up” for having the highest cigarette tax in the nation and praises the state’s strong smoke-free indoor air laws, the state again received “F’s” for inadequately funding its tobacco control program and failing to remove the barriers that prevent New Yorkers from accessing needed smoking cessation services.  You might say that New York failed to protect children from Big Tobacco’s marketing tactics by neglecting to invest in programs and policies proven to reduce tobacco use.

Tobacco causes an estimated 25,432 deaths in New York annually and costs the state’s economy more than $14 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity, a tremendous burden that the state can ill afford.

Although New York receives $2.3 billion in tobacco-related revenue annually, the state invests just 16.3 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends should be spent on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.  The failure of states across the U.S. to invest in policies and programs to reduce tobacco use has resulted in 3 million new youth and young smokers in the United States, according to the Surgeon General.

New York State lead the way with our comprehensive indoor smoke-free laws and our cigarette tax.  But we’re falling further and further behind in funding efforts to keep kids off tobacco and to help smokers quit, especially our city’s most vulnerable.

We are committed to protect the health of all New Yorkers, get them the resources they need to quit and ensure our youth to ever light up.  We know can make a difference and save lives.

It’s time to get straight A’s!