WRVO 89.9 FM: Annual Tobacco Control Report Gives NY Mixed Reviews

(January 21, 2011)

Michael Benjamin (2011-01-21)

OSWEGO, NY (wrvo) - The American Lung Association released its 9th annual State of Tobacco Control report earlier this week.

New York received a mixed review. The state received "A" grades for its smoking laws and high cigarette tax, but received failing grades for the amount of money it spends on tobacco prevention and healthcare coverage for cessation (or helping people quit smoking).

President and CEO of the American Lung Association - New York, Scott Santarella says that shows the state can do better.

"This year's report is really a call to action," he says, "because despite our success in terms of smoke-free air and cigarette tax, there is more work to be done in terms of tobacco prevention and controlled spending, as well as cessation coverage."

But, spokesman for the New York State Department of Health, Peter Constantakes says the state is doing the best with what money it can use.

"Everybody would love to have more resources," says Constantakes. "I think you have to reflect [on] what is going on across the nation fiscally with budgets - that the money may not be there - but what we are doing here in New York is using our resources very effectively."

Constantakes says New York is below the national average in smoking rates for both adults and high-schoolers.

However, the Lung Association says smoking costs the state between $6 billion and $14 billion, and more could be done to help people quit smoking.

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