Newsday: Don't be skimping on tobacco control

(December 13, 2009)


Letter to the Editor
December 13, 2009

Don’t be skimping on tobacco control

A recent report issued by several health organizations, including the American Lung Association, outlines how state spending on tobacco control programs has fallen.  This should concern all Long Islander residents.

The state’s $10-million cut to tobacco prevention and control as part of a deficit reduction plan will erode efforts to reduce tobacco use, prevent disease and save lives.

More than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year from smoking-related illnesses. Annual health care costs caused by smoking exceed $8 billion. 

It is illogical to cut programs that are evidence-based and perform lifesaving and cost-effective service.  Since the state’s tobacco control program was implemented, New York’s smoking rate has dropped.

Last year New York received a grade of “F” in our annual State of Tobacco Control report when it came to tobacco prevention and control spending.  It’s shameful that spending is being cut further. 


Scott T. Santarella


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