Daily Gazette (Letter to the Editor) Gazette wrong: It's no time to cut back on antismoking fight


Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Jan. 13 Gazette editorial ["Anti-smoking effort won't die for lack of funds"] concluded that New York can survive with spending less on tobacco control efforts in light of the current budget crisis. The Lung Association strongly disagrees.

While you correctly point out that New York's smoking rate has declined and that many are aware of the dangers smoking presents, it's hardly the time to rest on our laurels.

Big Tobacco is spending more than $429 million to market their deadly products in our state each year.

New York earned an "F" on tobacco control spending in our 2009 State of Tobacco Control Report for good reason: The dollars being dedicated to tobacco control are less than 25 percent of what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

Smoking remains a pervasive public health threat. The tobacco control program gives smokers the tools and support they need to become smoke-free. It also helps stop more of our kids from starting to smoke. This means better health and quality of life.

New York's Tobacco Control program is effective in saving lives and reducing smoking-related health care costs. The public health demands that it be adequately funded.

Scott T. Santarella


The writer is president and CEO of the American Lung Association of New York.