WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New York, once a nationalleader in funding programs to reduce tobacco use, has cut funding for its tobacco prevention and cessation program by 31 percent in the past year. As a result of the latest cuts enacted just last week, New York has fallen
After the latest cuts, New York this year has budgeted a total of $57 million for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, including $55.2 million in state funds and the rest in a federal grant. This amounts to just 22.4 percent of the $254.3 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last year, New York spent $81.9 million, or 32.2 percent of CDC-recommended levels, and ranked 19th. In previous years, New York has ranked as high as 5th in the nation.
Other key findings for New York include:
The annual report on states' funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled "A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
New York has been a national leader in fighting tobacco use with a well-funded Tobacco Control Program, a strong smoke-free workplace law and a high cigarette tax of $2.75 per pack. As a result, New York has reduced its adult smoking rate to 16.8 percent and its high school smoking rate to 13.8 percent, both well below the national rates of 20.6 percent and 20 percent. However, the huge cut in funding for tobacco prevention programs has put the state's progress at risk.
"New York has led the nation in fighting tobacco use, but the state this year has taken a big step backward and decimated funding for tobacco prevention," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Unless Governor Patterson and the Legislature act quickly to restore funding, New York will pay a high price in lives and dollars. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that reduces smoking, saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."
Despite the state's progress, 20,900 New York kids become regular smokers every year. Each year in New York, tobacco claims 25,400 lives and costs the state $8.2 billion in health care bills.
Eleven years after the 1998 state tobacco settlement, the new report finds that the states this year are collecting record amounts of revenue from the tobacco industry, but are spending less of it on tobacco prevention. Key national findings of the report include:
The report warns that the nation's progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The United States has significantly reduced smoking among both youth and adults, but the CDC's most recent survey showed that smoking declines among adults have stalled.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. Every day, another 1,000 kids become regular smokers – one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.
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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