Planned New York Tobacco Tax Increase is Great News for Health, But State Must Maintain Funding for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs

Jun 19, 2010, 12:54 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement of Kevin O'Flaherty, Northeast Regional Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

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It is great news for New York's health that state leaders are planning to increase the state cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack, while also increasing the tax on other tobacco products and ensuring that taxes are properly paid on cigarettes sold by Native American tribes to non-tribal members.  Increasing the tobacco tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among children.  The planned tobacco tax increase is a tremendous victory for public health that will prevent kids from smoking, motivate smokers to quit, and save lives and health care dollars.

However, it is also critical that New York adequately fund programs to help smokers quit and prevent kids from starting.  It would be unconscionable for New York to cut back on these already underfunded programs at the very same time that smokers will be motivated to quit and seek help in doing so.  New York must do everything it can to help smokers quit successfully and prevent kids from starting to smoke.

New York already cut funding for its tobacco prevention and cessation programs by more than 30 percent last year.  Any further cuts would devastate a highly successful program that has reduced youth and adult smoking rates to well below the national average. New York's program not only saves lives, but saves money as well by reducing tobacco-related health care costs.  Cutting the program is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

As a result of the planned tobacco tax increase, New York would collect more tobacco-generated revenue than ever before from tobacco taxes and the 1998 state tobacco settlement. It is only right that some of that tobacco money be used to adequately fund programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids