Albany Times Union: As taxes rise, smoking declines (letter to the editor)

(July 17, 2010)

First published: Saturday, July 17, 2010

The July 10 letter, "Stop digging into smokers' pockets," makes the faulty assumption that the increased tax on cigarettes will not result in fewer smokers. The American Lung Association in New York advocated for enactment of the tax increase because we know that it will encourage more smokers to quit and will save lives.

Study after study has proved that as tobacco taxes rise, cigarette consumption falls. While it's true that some New Yorkers will continue to smoke and some of them will even cross the border in search of cheaper cigarettes, it's certainly not true that all of them will.

We estimate that this tax increase will result in 120,000 fewer smokers and 23,000 fewer high school kids smoking. That's significant and it translates into more than 30,000 lives saved.

When it comes to protecting New Yorkers from tobacco, we need to use every proven method there is. Increasing tobacco taxes, increasing funding for tobacco control programs and providing better coverage for smoking cessation services are all methods that have consistently proven to be effective.

Scott T. Santarella
President and CEO
American Lung Association in New York