Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Letter to the editor): No public funding for deadly tobacco

December 22, 2010

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I read the Dec. 19 story "Airport fires up cigars to stoke business" with a great deal of disappointment. It is distressing to learn that an organization defined as a public benefit corporation would spend funds on products so detrimental to public health.

More than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year as a result of tobacco use. Many more suffer from lung diseases that hamper their quality of life.

The reality is that cigars contain the same addictive, toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in cigarettes and are not a safe alternative.

We need everyone's help in conveying the message that cigars are not prized possessions but deadly products that can kill.

Agencies and authorities working in the public interest should set an example by saying "no" to expending public funds on tobacco products.

—SCOTT T. SANTARELLA
ALBANY
The writer is president and CEO of American Lung Association in New York.