National Report: New York Ranks 21st in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York ranks 21st in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

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New York currently spends $41.4 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 16.3 percent of the $254.3 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for New York include:

  • New York this year will collect $2.3 billion in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.8 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs. This means New York is spending less than 2 cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
  • New York's funding for tobacco prevention is the same as last year, but it represents a cut of 52 percent from $85.5 million spent in 2008.
  • The tobacco companies spend $196 million a year to market their products in New York. This is 5 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states' funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled "Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 14 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

New York has been a national leader in the fight against tobacco with the highest state cigarette tax ($4.35 per pack), a comprehensive smoke-free law and an effective, well-funded tobacco prevention program.  New York reduced high school smoking by 61 percent between 1999 and 2011 (from 31.8 percent to 12.5 percent who smoke).

However, the recent cuts to New York's tobacco prevention and cessation programs have put the state's progress at risk.

"New York has been a real leader in the fight against tobacco, but the state's progress is at risk unless it quickly restores funding for tobacco prevention," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  "It is especially critical that New York do more to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit in lower-income communities that have been targeted by the tobacco industry and have the highest smoking rates.  New York knows that tobacco prevention is a smart investment that saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."

In New York, 12.5 percent of high school students smoke, and 22,500 more kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco annually claims 25,400 lives and costs the state $8.2 billion in health care bills.

Nationally, the report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Key national findings of the report include:

  • The states this year will collect $25.7 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.8 percent of it – $459.5 million – on tobacco prevention programs. This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
  • States are falling woefully short of the CDC's recommended funding levels for tobacco prevention programs.  Altogether, the states have budgeted just 12.4 percent of the $3.7 billion the CDC recommends.
  • Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level.

As the nation implements health care reform, the report warns that states are missing a golden opportunity to reduce tobacco-related health care costs, which total $96 billion a year in the U.S.  One study found that during the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent on the program.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people each year.  Nationally, 19 percent of adults and 18.1 percent of high school students smoke.

More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



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