Lung Association Urges Rejection Of Tax Credit For Tobacco Company

Empire Zone Benefit for Tobacco Company Would be Poor Investment of Public Dollars

ALBANY, NY (02/08/2008)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association of New York State today urged New York’s Empire State Development agency, and the Cattaraugus County legislature, to reject the Empire Zone application of Lake Erie Tobacco Company. The Cattaraugus County Legislature was asked yesterday to review the cigarette manufacturer’s request to be included in the county’s Empire Zone.

“Government should be investing in public health – not in a company that produces a product which kills,” said Michael Seilback, Senior Director of Public Policy & Advocacy. “Approving this Empire Zone request would be a classic case of penny-wise, pound-foolish decision making.”

It is undisputed that tobacco leads to untold devastation for users, high costs to government for Medicaid, and an even higher cost for loved ones of smokers who are left to deal with the terrible impact of tobacco. The Lung Association has led the call for New York State to fully fund tobacco control programs and to make saving lives a priority this legislative session by increasing the excise tax on cigarettes.

New York State’s tobacco control programs have made major strides in cutting smoking rates over the last decade. In fact, New York State spent only $87.5 million in 2006, a small fraction of the over $254 million that the CDC recommends New York spends on these critical programs. The more New York State spends on tobacco prevention and cessation, the fewer New Yorkers will smoke -- exactly the sort of public investment New York should be making.

“Lake Erie Tobacco Company has assured officials it will add 50 workers by 2012 -- this does not seem to compare to the thousands of New Yorkers who will die from tobacco use in that same time period,” declared Seilback.

Since 1904, the American Lung Association of New York State has worked tirelessly to promote health and prevent lung disease across New York State. The premier lung health resource in New State, the Lung Association helps to protect and educate over ten million New Yorkers across 57 counties. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.” For more information about the American Lung Association of New York state or to support the work we do, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit us online at