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Program needs funding to save lives

December 7, 2012
The Leader Herald

The New York State Tobacco Control Program saves lives and saves money.

In 2009, 25,400 lives were prematurely lost due to tobacco use in New York. Those were 25,400 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers. People are losing their lives due to products that are not only addictive, but deadly.

An estimated $8.17 billion is spent annually on treatment for tobacco-related illnesses in New York, which includes $2.7 billion in Medicaid costs. With the Medicaid burden being put on local governments, the increasing costs of treating tobacco-related illnesses is making it more difficult for local municipalities to provide the necessary police, fire and EMT services for their citizens. The information, services and outreach the NYSTCP provides to the state helps smokers to quit, educates youth so that they do not start smoking, and protects the general health of all New Yorkers.

With the current funding, the NYSTCP is losing the ability to do all of these very necessary actions. Even though New York state collects more than $2 billion annually through taxes on cigarettes, the program is only funded for $41 million.

According to the American Cancer Society, currently, there are over 2.7 million adult smokers in New York. We have a long way to go to reduce these numbers and we need the funding to save lives and save money.

JUSTIN HLADIK

Program coordinator, Reality Check HFM

Johnstown

 
 

 

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