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North Country Now: NY’s smoking cessation record for 2016 calls for more resources, American Lung Association says

North Country Now, 2/9

While New York made some progress on tobacco control policies that will save lives, it fell short in providing smokers with access to the resources they need to quit, according to the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2016.

The American Lung Association’s 14th report finds that most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States’ overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease.
“State of Tobacco Control 2016 finds New York’s mixed grades show that progress is possible, although even more needs to be done by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives,” the lung association said.

Their report include:

• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – Grade F

• Tobacco Taxes – Grade B

• Smoke-free Air – Grade A

• Access to Cessation Services – Grade F

“While New York has a long history of leadership on tobacco control efforts, we still must face the reality that tobacco kills over 28,000 New Yorkers per year and that young people are using tobacco products like e-cigarettes and little cigars is at an all-time high,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Nearly a quarter of high school students nationwide are using tobacco products, and it is essential that New York continue to take aggressive action to reduce all tobacco use – the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in our nation. We’d like to see New York State ensure that all New Yorkers have the tools necessary to help smokers quit once and for all.”

The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failure of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use. The report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans “from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy,” the lung association said.

“The American Lung Association of the Northeast calls on New York to act on increasing funding for the state’s tobacco control program to $52 million per year and expand New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes,” the organization said ni a new release.

“New York has more work to do to reduce tobacco use,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “We have good laws on smoke-free air, protecting New Yorkers from secondhand exposure at work and in the community. But we should continue strengthening our smoke-free laws and we need significant new investments in education and service-as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control-so we can help people quit and prevent them from starting.”

As of Jan. 31 the Obama Administration had not yet given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight authority over all tobacco products including cigars, e-cigarettes, little cigars and hookah. The grade of “I” for incomplete for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products is assigned because the final rule is expected at any time. Other federal grades include a “C” for federal cessation coverage, an “F” for tobacco taxes and a “B” for its mass media campaigns, a new grading area in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report, the association said.