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Writer Support Higher Cigarette Taxes

Submitted article

Tobacco use takes a toll on our families and communities.  Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.  Thousands more die from tobacco-related causes, including fires caused by smoking and diseases from smokeless tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Families and communities benefit from tobacco control programs implemented by every state in the nation; such programs have been proven to cut and prevent smoking.

Recent surveys have found that the nation’s progress in reducing smoking has stalled among youth and adults, a large share of that reduction a result of cuts in tobacco control funding.  This is not the case in New York State, where youth smoking has been declining steadily, despite tobacco control funding of $84 million, far short of the CDC-recommended level of $253 million.

New York recently enacted the highest state tobacco tax in the nation, which is expected to spur smokers to quit, prevent youth from starting, and bring in much revenue when collected.  Think of how many more youth can be saved from tobacco addiction if New York’s funding is continued and tax evasion on reservations is addressed.

Research shows that the more states spend on comprehensive tobacco control programs, the greater and faster the impact.  Current funding among states in the nation doesn’t even come close to the $13.4 billion a year spent on tobacco marketing and the nearly $100 billion in health care costs due to tobacco use.

Proven strategies have been shown to lower smoking rates and tobacco consumption.  If all states were able to fully implement these strategies, it could accelerate declines in cardiovascular death, reduce chronic lung disease and maybe even relegate lung cancer to its former status: rare-disease.

Christina Wilson, Director
Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County