Lung Association Applauds Tobacco Control & Asthma Measures in Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget Proposal

ALBANY, NY (02/01/2011)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York today applauded Governor Cuomo's proposed 2011-12 Executive Budget for its strong commitment to tobacco control. Following last year's budget which included a tobacco tax increase, this year's budget allocates $58.4M to the state's Tobacco Control Program.

"Maintaining funding for New York's Tobacco Control Program saves New Yorkers' lives and saves the state money in healthcare costs," said Scott T. Santarella, President & CEO of the American Lung Association in New York."When more than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year from tobacco-caused illness, this funding is especially critical. We look forward to working with the Cuomo Administration to ensure that all New Yorkers who want to quit smoking have the tools necessary to do so."

Santarella pointed out that the funding for the Tobacco Control Program has been slashed by almost 30% since 2007, but was funded at $58.4M in last year's budget. As the Lung Association's 2010 State of Tobacco Control Report points out, this funding is well below what the CDC.recommends New York spend on tobacco control. While today's proposal does not increase or even restore funding to prior levels, it does show a very strong commitment in a challenging budget climate.

The Lung Association continues to support the collection of the tobacco tax and is hopeful additional steps will be taken to ensure the taxes on cigarettes sold to non-Indians on the state's Native American reservations are collected. Such a plan would help keep cigarette prices uniformly high and provide needed revenue for healthcare efforts.

The Lung Association also expressed gratitude that important funding for childhood asthma programs was also maintained in the Executive Budget. Over 375,000 New York children struggle with asthma daily. It is crucial that these vital programs are fully funded.

"As Governor Cuomo referenced in his speech today, this budget is really about meeting the needs of the people," said Scott T. Santarella. "The Lung Association is pleased that Governor Cuomo's budget will help protect the lung health of New Yorkers. We urge the Legislature to support and protect these important initiatives that affect the health and well-being of so many New Yorkers."