In 2007, the Institute of Medicine and the President's Cancer Panel reported there was overwhelming evidence that comprehensive state tobacco-control programs substantially reduce tobacco use. They recommended every state fund such programs at Center for Disease Control-recommended levels.
In New York state, the overall smoking rate has dropped much faster than the national average. However, there are still areas of the state that have much higher-than-average smoking rates. In 2009, 25,400 New York deaths were attributed to tobacco use and health care costs associated with tobacco use were over $8 billion, $2.7 billion in Medicaid costs.
Since 2009, the funding for comprehensive tobacco control has been cut in half. This year, our state took in $2 billion in tobacco taxes and payments from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. This year, our state spent only $41.4 million on tobacco prevention and cessation. This is about 2 cents per dollar.
When adequately funded, tobacco-control programs can achieve success in curbing tobacco use, which benefits us all by lowering the costs of health care, and especially Medicaid.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Educator for Project Action