Over 28,000 New Yorkers die each year from tobacco caused illnesses, according to a report released Thursday.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says the state needs to do more in funding programs that help prevent tobacco use.
The report found thwe current statewide cigarette tax in New York is about $4.35, which is the highest in the country.
“We simply don’t invest enough to help New Yorkers quit and to keep kids from starting this deadly addiction,” Julie Hart, New York State Government Relations Director of ACSCAN, said.
Every year the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network releases a report that helps lawmakers understand where New York is at when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment. The state was rated green which means the state has adopted the best practices when it comes to cigarette tax rates. As far as Tobacco control funding and prevention, the state was rated a red.
“New York State spends pennies on the dollar in terms of what we bring in from tobacco revenue. The CDC says we should spend $203 million to help New Yorkers with tobacco addiction.”
Which is far less than what New York actually spends which is about $39.3 million.
“We have a really good program but we just don’t have enough funding for it.”
The state also scored low on not having a higher age restriction on indoor tanning devices. State law allows 17 year olds to use tanning beds with parental permission.
“Just like you wouldn’t say to a 17-year-old here you can go smoke cigarettes with a parental permission slip. We shouldn’t do that for our tanning beds.”
The state did score well on increasing access to Medicaid and having smoke free laws. The rest, according to Hart, needs to start with state legislators implementing more policies and programs that help prevent and treat cancer.