Tobacco Tax Increase Takes Effect
Local Programs Available to Help Smokers Quit, Discourage Non Smokers from Starting
ALBANY, NY (06/03/2008)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association of New York State and local tobacco control advocates today celebrated the implementation of an additional $1.25 excise tax on cigarettes which will help smokers quit and prevent youth from starting the deadly addiction. This vital public health measure, approved by the New York State Legislature on April 9, 2008 and signed into law by Governor Paterson on April 23, 2008, will have tremendous positive effects on public health and well-being.
“Today, New York State becomes the national public health leader in tobacco taxation,” said Michael Seilback, Senior Director of Public Policy & Advocacy. “This increase will eventually save the lives of over 77,000 youth who will be prevented from becoming smokers, and save more then 37,000 adult New Yorkers from a tobacco-caused death by helping them quit.”
The American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report Card gave New York State only a “C” for the tax on cigarettes in January, when the excise tax on cigarettes in New York State was $1.50. Before this raise, 15 states placed ahead of New York. Now, the current tax of $2.75 is the highest of any state in the nation and would give New York an “A” for tobacco tax on the State of Tobacco Control Report Card.
Nicotine is an addictive drug, which when inhaled in cigarette smoke reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body intravenously. Smokers not only become physically addicted to nicotine; they also link smoking with many social activities, making smoking a difficult habit to break. It is imperative that local support is available to help smokers quit.
“Making smoking expensive and inconvenient saves lives,” said Maureen Kenney, Director of POW’R Against Tobacco, a coalition made up of organizations and private citizens who live or work in Putnam, Orange, Westchester and Rockland counties.
POW’R AGAINST TOBACCO is dedicated to reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and other tobacco-related illnesses by lowering the prevalence of tobacco use, advertising, sponsorship and promotion through education, media and advocacy in all four counties. Their mission is to implement strategies that will decrease the presence of and social acceptability of tobacco use, particularly amongst youth. Currently the coalition is working with tobacco retailers to reduce tobacco advertising; encouraging organizations to implement policies to decline all tobacco industry corporate giving, and working with owners of multi unit dwellings to implement smoke-free building policies, protecting all residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
“Now is the perfect time for smokers to contact their healthcare providers so they can assist them to quit smoking,” said Jamie Conklin, Director of POW’R Cessation, a cessation center which provides technical assistance to over 20 hospitals and other healthcare providers in Putnam, Orange, Westchester and Rockland counties.
POW’R Cessation Center provides grants, training and technical support to hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other healthcare providers in the design and implementation of systems to screen, identify and provide interventions and treatment for their tobacco-using patients based on the Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines. To further assist their patients and community to quit smoking, POW’R Cessation Center will provide trainings for healthcare providers to become smoking cessation facilitators. In addition, they assist hospitals in becoming tobacco-free campuses.
New York State last raised the excise tax in 2002 – since then, 43 states, DC and Puerto Rico have increased their cigarette tax rates more than 75 times. Across the nation, 9 other states have a cigarette tax rate of $2.00 per pack or more.
“Over 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 18, and this increase will discourage youth from beginning the deadly habit,” added Seilback.
Quick Facts about the Effects of the Tobacco Tax Increase
-- For every three children prevented from becoming smokers, one smoking caused death is averted.
-- Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths across the country.
-- Every state that has significantly increased its cigarette tax has enjoyed substantial increases in revenue, while also reducing smoking. -- New York State will realize an estimated $436 million in revenue each year from this increase.
-- The portion of our state and federal taxes that goes to pay for treatment for smoking caused diseases amounts to a tax of $904 on each New York household.
Funded through a grant from the New York State Department of Health, to the American Lung Association of New York State, POW’R Against Tobacco is one of 29 community partnerships across New York State dedicated to making each community a healthier place to live, work and play. POW’R Against Tobacco is dedicated to reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and other tobacco related illnesses by lowering the prevalence of tobacco use, advertising, sponsorship and promotion through education, media and advocacy. For more information about POW’R, visit www.powragainsttobacco.org.
The POW'R To Be Tobacco Free Cessation Center is one of 19 Cessation Centers in New York State - funded through a grant by the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program to the American Lung Association of NYS. The Center provides training and technical support to health care institutions and providers and to tobacco users giving them the POW'R to quit! For more information, visit http://www.powrcessationcenter.org.
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 York State and across the nation, the American 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 www.alanys.org.