ALBANY – This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report from the American Lung Association (ALA) is calling on leaders in New York State to implement tobacco control policies, saying it is desperately needed in light of the country’s youth vaping epidemic being worsened in 2019.
“This dire situation is a direct result of states and the federal government’s failure to enact policies called for in the report, such as increased tobacco taxes and stronger federal oversight of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes,” the organization said in a media release sent out this week.
According to the ALA, this year’s report finds New York saw some progress with its grade in the minimum age category going from an F to an A, but the state maintained a failing grade for Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding for providing only 20.9% of the CDC recommended level of funds.
As a result, ALA officials are calling on New York State to increase funding for the program, as well as increase tobacco taxes and prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in order to support public health and save lives in 2020.
“The need for New York State to take action to protect youth from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is more urgent than ever, with the youth vaping epidemic continuing its alarming rise to 27.5% or more than one in four high school students,” the group said. “This is a staggering 135% increase in high school e-cigarette use in just the past two years, and close to three million more kids started vaping in that time period, setting them up for a lifetime of addiction.”
The 18th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use. In New York, while adult tobacco use and smoking rates did see slight declines, the report finds that elected officials must do more to save lives, combat the youth tobacco epidemic, and ensure all New York residents benefit from reductions in tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
New York State’s Grades:
- Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
- Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
- Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade B
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade C
- Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade A
The American Lung Association encourages New York State to put in place all the public policies called for in “State of Tobacco Control,” and in particular, this year’s report noted the need to focus on increasing funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs. An investment in prevention is especially important given the skyrocketing number of youth who are vaping. “
Despite New York receiving $1.9 billion from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, the state funds tobacco control efforts at only 20.9% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Lung Association believe the funds should be used to support the health of our communities, and to prevent tobacco use and help smokers and e-cigarette users quit,” said ALA Director of Advocacy ElizabethHamlin.