Utica Observer Dispatch (Letter to the editor): There's another reason to collect cigarette tax

(May 25, 2011)

 


Posted May 25, 2011

 

The American Lung Association agrees with the Observer-Dispatch’s view that Gov. Andrew Cuomo must be steadfast in his effort to collect taxes on cigarettes sold to the public at Native American reservations (May 13, Our view: Cuomo must stay firm on tobacco tax).

Each day these cigarette taxes go uncollected, the state not only loses revenue but misses opportunities to positively impact public health.

As long as these lower-cost untaxed cigarettes continue to be available in New York, it dilutes the effectiveness of last year’s increased state tax on cigarettes. Studies have repeatedly shown that as the price of a pack of cigarettes increases, so too does the number of people who choose to quit and, perhaps most importantly, fewer kids start smoking.

Each year in New York, 25,000 people die as a result of smoking. For economic reasons and for public health reasons, New York state desperately needs this uncollected revenue. We urge Gov. Cuomo to keep up his fight to collect these taxes. New Yorkers are depending on him.

IRWIN BERLIN, MD
Board chairman, American Lung Association, New York City