American Lung Association’s ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ Gives New York Mixed Grades for Efforts to Save Lives by Reducing Tobacco Use
(February 3, 2016) -
Today, the American Lung Association released its 14th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report that finds that in 2015 while New York made some progress on tobacco control policies that will save lives, it fell short in providing smokers with access to the resources they need to quit. The report also finds that most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States’ overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease.
“While New York has a long history of leadership on tobacco control efforts, we still must face the reality that tobacco kills over 28,000 New Yorkers per year and that young people are using tobacco products like e-cigarettes and little cigars is at an all-time high,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Nearly a quarter of high school students nationwide are using tobacco products, and it is essential that New York continue to take aggressive action to reduce all tobacco use – the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in our nation. We’d like to see New York State ensure that all New Yorkers have the tools necessary to help smokers quit once and for all.”
The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failure of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use. The report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.
State of Tobacco Control 2016 finds New York’s mixed grades show that progress is possible, although even more needs to be done by Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:
• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – Grade F
• Tobacco Taxes - Grade B
• Smokefree Air - Grade A
• Access to Cessation Services - Grade F
As Chairman of the New York State Senate Health Committee, I applaud the American Lung Association’s efforts to reduce tobacco use and save lives in New York,” said Senator Kemp Hannon. “Despite making great strides in many areas, including helping smokers to quit, reducing access to tobacco for underage youth, as well as my own efforts to crack down on electronic cigarettes, more needs to be done. As smoking is the major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide, I look forward to working with the American Lung Association to achieve our mutual goals.”
The American Lung Association of the Northeast calls on New York to act on increasing funding for the state’s tobacco control program to $52 million per year and expand New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes.
“New York has more work to do to reduce tobacco use,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “We have good laws on smoke-free air, protecting New Yorkers from secondhand exposure at work and in the community. But we should continue strengthening our smoke-free laws and we need significant new investments in education and service-as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control-so we can help people quit and prevent them from starting.”
As of January 31, 2016, the Obama Administration had not yet given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight authority over all tobacco products including cigars, e-cigarettes, little cigars and hookah (commonly referred to as the deeming rule). The grade of “I” for Incomplete for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products is assigned because the final rule is expected at any time. Other federal grades include a “C” for Federal Cessation Coverage, an “F” for Tobacco Taxes and a “B” for its Mass Media Campaigns, a new grading area in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.
“It’s not a secret how we can reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Michael Seilback, Vice President of Public Policy & Communications for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Flanagan must act urgently to implement these proven policies to save lives. The current level of funding for the state’s Tobacco Control Program will simply not suffice”.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at media@LungNE.org.