NY1: American Lung Association Praises State Smoking Bans

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New York State gets high marks when it come to having smoke-free air, but fails to make the grade when it comes to helping people quit, according to the American Lung Association's new tobacco control report.


The nationwide study examines the tobacco policies and programs in place in the United States as of January 1.

While it commends New York for banning smoking in most public spaces and for boosting its cigarette tax to $4.35, the report also questions why the extra revenue is not continuously committed to programs aimed at helping smokers kick the habit and preventing kids from starting.

The American Lung Association says nationwide, there were only five states -- Arkansas, Maine, Montana, Oklahoma and Vermont -- that made the grade when it comes to battling big tobacco.

"There is a great opportunity in states and Congress in this year to step up and improve the grades for next year's report, but more importantly, save lives and prevent the enormous health toll that tobacco causes in America," said ALA Vice President Paul Billings.

ALA officials say 443,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke. That affects the economy with more than $193 billion in health care and lost productivity.

In response, the State Health Department said that New York's levels of adult and teen smokers are below U.S. averages. The health officials also said the ALA overlooked some of the state's anti-smoking programs