ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The American Lung Association’s annual “State of Tobacco Control” report was released Wednesday. In it, New York received a wide range of grades when it comes to five areas proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use.
For the past two decades, there have been campaigns to prevent people from smoking and to stop it all together. In New York State, it’s estimated that tobacco use kills over 28,000 people a year and is a leading cause of preventable death and disease, according to the American Lung Association.
Using data from 2019, the American Lung Association said when it comes to tobacco prevention programs, New York Needs to up its game. The state received an “F” in this category.
“We need to, first and foremost, make sure our state Bureau of Tobacco Control is funded at the most robust level possible. Right now, the state offers about $39 million for that program. The Centers for Disease Control, as they do for every state across the country, recommends New York State level to be around $203 million,” explained Trevor Summerfield, Director of Advocacy For American Lung Association.
NEWS10 ABC reached out to the governor’s office for comment but has yet to hear back.
The American Lung Association also added that the state needs to provide more coverage and access to services to quit tobacco as well as end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
“The one thing we don’t want is kids picking up, and we know if there are flavored products on the market, it’s easier for them to do so,” said Summerfield.
Despite giving a “B” rating, the American Lung Association said New York State has not significantly increased tobacco tax in over a decade and would like to see it do so, citing that an increase in tobacco tax has been a proven way to reduce tobacco use. The New York State Association of Convenience stores weighed in on that idea.
“First of all, New York State has the second-highest tax on tobacco, and when you have a high rate of tax on tobacco products, history has proven that you’re giving a financial incentive to smokers to find ways to dodge that tax,” said Jim Calvin, New York State Association of Convenience Stores.
Calvin said he believes the existing regulations and tax levels are sufficient in New York State.