Newsday: State cigarette tax is a health issue

(November 6, 2009)

Fri., Nov. 6, 2009
Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

As the debate continues over whether
New York State ought to begin enforcing the law and collect taxes on cigarettes sold to the public at American Indian reservations, New Yorkers are paying a real public health cost ["Smoldering hearing on cigs tax," News, Oct. 28].

When the state allows the sale of lower-cost, untaxed cigarettes, it undermines efforts to reduce smoking.

Studies have shown that as the price of cigarettes increases, the number of children smoking decreases. The number of smokers who choose to quit increases.

The collection of taxes on cigarettes sold to non-Indians at the state's Indian reservations will result in higher prices, which will lead to fewer smokers.

Scott Santarella

Hauppauge

Editor's note: The writer is president and chief executive of the American Lung Association in New York.