Lung Association Criticizes Tobacco & Asthma Control Funding Cuts in the Budget

Statement of Jeffrey Seyler, President & CEO, American Lung Association of the Northeast

ALBANY, NY (March 25, 2013)

In response to the budget bills introduced late last night in the legislature, Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast released the following statement:

“More than 2.5 million New Yorkers suffer from lung disease including 1.5 million who suffer from asthma, 428,000 of those being children. And while more than 25,000 New Yorkers continue to die each year from tobacco-caused disease, every day 3,900 kids across the nation try their first cigarette. Adequate funding for both the state’s Bureau of Tobacco Control (BTC) and the state’s Asthma Control Program is essential to preventing lung disease, improving lung health and drastically reducing the toll tobacco takes on New Yorkers.

We are dismayed by the further cuts that have been made to these lifesaving programs.  To cut funding for these programs by 5% is certainly penny-wise and pound-foolish.  The $39.3 million dedicated to BTC in this year’s budget falls terribly short of the $254 million the CDC recommends we spend and is significantly less than the $85.5 million the program was funded at under Governor George Pataki. This program’s sole purpose is to save lives by helping smokers quit and preventing kids from starting to smoke. If our goal is to save lives and save money spent on tobacco-related healthcare costs, we ought to be boosting funding not scaling it back.

While the Lung Association commends legislative leaders for restoring line item funding for the tobacco control and asthma control programs, we strongly denounce their decision to further cut funding to these already cash-strapped programs.” 

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