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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in New York. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by New York's elected officials:

  1. Increase the tobacco tax by a minimum of $1.00 per pack including other tobacco products;
  2. Prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products; and
  3. Increase funding for the New York state tobacco control program.
New York has long been a national leader regarding its tobacco control laws. During the 2022 legislative session New York wasn’t very active when it came to tobacco control policy. However, in July 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Assembly Bill 5061/Senate Bill 4142; a measure which prohibits smoking in public parks and sets a $50 fine for violations with exceptions for those in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

Despite a better budget climate, the 2022-23 state budget for the tobacco control program was level-funded at $39.8 million, about 21% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommended level when federal funding from the CDC is included. The CDC recommends that New York spend $203 million on its tobacco control program.

The 2022 legislative session was once again primarily held remotely due to health and safety concerns posed by COVID-19, however, a coalition of tobacco program members, including youth, were able to meet with lawmakers virtually or in-person back in district when conditions allowed.

On the local level, the Westchester County Board of Legislators overwhelmingly passed a measure that would have prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes in the county. Unfortunately, County Executive George Latimer vetoed the legislation.

New data from New Yorks Youth Tobacco Survey (NY YTS) show that after staggering increases in youth tobacco use between 2014 and 2018, primarily driven by electronic cigarettes, tobacco use among high school age youth has declined across all product categories from 30.6% to 25.6% between 2018 and 2020.

• Cigarette smoking among high school youth is at an all-time low: only 2.4% of high school youth are current smokers, representing a 91% decline in the youth smoking rate since 2000.

• E-cigarette use among high school youth decreased in 2020, a first since New York has monitored use of these products, from 27.5% in 2018 to 22.5% in 2020.

• Other tobacco product use, including cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, and hookah, also decreased among high school youth, from 9.2% in 2018 to 6.1% in 2020.

The American Lung Association will continue to build upon its work in 2022 with a sustained push on increasing funding for the tobacco control program in 2023. The Lung Association will also advocate for raising the tax on cigarettes, and other tobacco products, which have not been increased since 2010 and on enacting a statewide prohibition on the sale of all flavored tobacco products. The removal of menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and other flavored tobacco products is a social justice and health equity issue and must be addressed.

New York Facts
Healthcare Costs Due to Smoking: $10,389,849,268
Adult Smoking Rate: 12.00%
High School Smoking Rate: 2.40%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 25.60%
Middle School Smoking Rate: N/A
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 28,170
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use data come from the 2020 New York Youth Tobacco Survey. High school tobacco use includes cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, and electronic cigarettes, making it incomparable to other states. A current middle school smoking rate is not available for this state.

Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.

New York Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

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