Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Letter to the editor): Smoking cessation work saves lives

(March 14, 2011)

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The March 9 article "Smoking rate stops
falling" makes the important point that New
York has cut the amount of money that it
spends on tobacco control and prevention
programs. Adequately funding this
program is critical to maintaining the
progress we've made in discouraging kids
from ever beginning to smoke. The Lung
Association's State of Tobacco Control
Report gave New York an "F" this year for
both the level of funding it commits to the
Tobacco Control Program and for failing to
provide adequate cessation coverage.

While we're very pleased that Gov. Cuomo
has proposed maintaining funding for the
program in this year's budget, we will need
to greatly expand this funding in future
years.

More than 25,000 state residents still die
each year as a result of their own smoking,
and more than 300,000 New York kids
now under age 17 are projected to
someday die from smoking. Funding
tobacco control and cessation can help
drive a marked decline in the smoking rate
that will reduce these unacceptable
numbers.

DR. IRWIN BERLIN
ROCHESTER