Once a Leader, New York Tumbles as Anti-Tobacco Programs Suffer

New Report Shows New York’s Fall From Grace

Once a national leader in anti-tobacco programming, drastic budget cuts over the past few years have resulted in New York’s status among states tumbling in a new ranking. 


“A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later,” released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, ranks New York as 20th


The groups are asking for New York to spend one dime of every dollar of revenue from tobacco on tobacco control.  Currently, New York spends less than two cents of every dollar of revenue from tobacco on tobacco control.  In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars that it receives each year from the Master Settlement Agreement, New York reaps nearly $1.5 billion a year through the highest cigarette tax in the nation ($4.35 per pack).  The organizations urged increasing funding for the state’s Tobacco Control Program (TCP) from $41.4 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended $254 million over the next few years. The request for the 2012-13 budget is $100 million.


Funding for the TCP has been cut in half over the past three years.  During the current fiscal year, New York will spend only 16 percent of the amount recommended by the CDC.  When more adequately funded, the TCP achieved successes in the effort to curb tobacco use, especially in preventing young people from becoming smokers.  Teenage and adult tobacco use rates have fallen faster in New York than in the U.S. as a whole. 


The TCP operates in every corner of the state. The program works in local communities to give smokers the one-on-one assistance they need to quit.  It funds youth smoking prevention groups; the Smokers Quitline, including free nicotine patches for those who want to quit; as well as hard-hitting effective media campaigns. 


The toll tobacco takes on New York is devastating.  More than 25,500 New Yorkers will die this year of smoking-related diseases and more than $8.1 billion is spent on health care costs each year to treat smoking caused illnesses.  Lost wages and productivity due to tobacco use total $6.05 billion a year.  The current adult smoking rate is 15.5 percent and the teen smoking rate is 12.6 percent.


To get a copy of the report, visit www.tobaccofreekids.org.