New Guidelines Urge NYS to Fully Fund Tobacco Control Programs

New York State Must Implement Proven Programs to Reduce Burden, Prevent Use of Tobacco

ALBANY, NY (10/24/2007)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Associations of New York State and of the City of New York welcomed yesterday’s update to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. The 2007 edition reinforces the need for states to adequately fund evidence-based tobacco prevention programs to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

“Governor Spitzer and the New York State Senate and Assembly must act to fund these life-saving programs,” said Michael Seilback, Senior Director of Public Policy & Advocacy. “Our elected officials have an opportunity to make New York State a national leader in public health and well being by funding effective tobacco control programs based on the revised Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs.”

“The new guidelines make clear that evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs are effective at reducing the terrible burden of tobacco,” added Deborah Carioto, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of New York State. “Funding these proven programs now will not only saves lives, but also save future taxpayer dollars by helping to reduce the number of New Yorkers who smoke.”

In 2006, New York took a positive step forward by drastically increasing funding for the New York State Bureau of Tobacco Control & Prevention. Nevertheless, today’s announcement reinforces the need to further increase New York’s tobacco control spending.

“New York State could drastically reduce smoking levels, while also increasing funding for the tobacco control program by immediately enacting an additional $1.50 in the state tobacco excise tax,” continued Seilback. “Raising the tax will lead to increased state revenue, while at the same time creating an economic incentive for smokers to quit their deadly addiction.”

“In New York City, where the cigarette taxes are the highest in the state and local funding in hard hitting ads supplements state efforts, we are measuring our success in lives saved,” said Louise Vetter, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the City of New York. “CDC data released this June showed that the combined effects of meaningful prevention investment, cigarette tax and smoke-free air legislation in the five boroughs resulted in a quarter of a million fewer smokers and prevented 80,000 premature tobacco-related deaths in just four years.”

CDC’s newly revised guidelines recommend that New York State spend a minimum of $155.1 million annually, up from the current recommended minimum of $95.8 million. Currently New York State spends $87.5 million -- $8.3 million less than what is currently recommended on these critical programs. The CDC estimates that if states funded their tobacco control programs at the recommended level of investment for 5 years, it would result in 5 million fewer smokers, nationally. This translates into millions of lives saved and billions of dollars in health care and other savings.

The American Lung Association issues its State of Tobacco Control report annually, which grades the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in four categories, including tobacco prevention funding. In the 2006 report, New York State received an A for the amount of funding provided to its tobacco prevention and cessation program. Sadly, the report notes only three states – Colorado, Delaware and Maine – funded these life saving programs at or above the previous CDC recommended minimum levels for FY2007.

Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine and the President’s Cancer Panel released separate reports finding that tobacco prevention and cessation programs are effective at preventing kids from starting to smoke and helping smokers quit. In this updated report, the CDC has reviewed the science and analyzed effective state tobacco control programs. Based on that evaluation, CDC now recommends a level of investment for each state’s tobacco control program that reflects the agency’s best judgment of what each state – based on its specific characteristics – must spend to implement with sufficient intensity an evidence-based comprehensive tobacco control program. The recommended spending levels reflect overall state population, the prevalence of tobacco use, the proportion of the population that is uninsured and a number of other factors, including the cost and complexity of conducting mass media to reach targeted audiences. The recommended spending levels had not been updated since the last time Best Practices was issued in 1999.

The American Lung Associations of New York State and the City of New York will continue to push Governor Spitzer and the New York State legislature to make saving lives a priority and to fund these vital, public health programs at the new levels recommended by CDC.

Since 1904, the American Lung Association of New York State has worked tirelessly to promote lung health and prevent lung disease across New York State.  The premier lung health resource in New York 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 at

Founded in 1902, the American Lung Association of the City of New York is a voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to the fight against lung disease and the promotion of lung health through research, community education and advocacy. Lung diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, lung cancer and pneumonia, are the third leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for one in seven deaths. For more information about the work of the American Lung Association of the City of New York, please call 1-800-LUNG-USA or visit