“The best way to improve the health of New Yorkers and to lower health care costs is to avoid preventable illness.” Governor Andrew Cuomo, Press Release – State of the State, 2013
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and premature death and kills over 25,000 New Yorkers each year (CDC Smoking and Tobacco Use, Fast Facts) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 60 percent of cancers could be avoided if people stopped using tobacco (2012-2017 NYS Comprehensive Cancer Control Program)
“Expanding tobacco cessation efforts.” Governor Cuomo’s Proposed 2013-2014 Budget, An item included in the cost neutral package of the new Medicaid Redesign
People insured by Medicaid smoke at a higher rate, 26.7% than those with private insurance,12.1% (New York State Adult Tobacco Survey, 2003-2011).
We support Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving health and reducing costs by preventing disease. As tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease and as our most vulnerable citizens smoke more and are sicker as a result, it makes sense that increasing tobacco cessation is in the proposed budget and that special attention is given to those insured through Medicaid.
At the same time, however, the Governor’s proposed budget will likely reduce funding for Tobacco Control Programming overall. For the first time, Tobacco Control, loses a line item appropriation and is bundled with 14 other ‘chronic disease prevention and treatment’ programs. All of these programs will compete for a fixed dollar amount.
Tobacco Control makes money for NY, Tobacco Control is one of the few state programs which generate revenue. New York currently has the highest cigarette taxes in the country at $4.35 per pack, and generates 2 billion dollars in revenue each year. However, less than 2% of that revenue is used for Tobacco Control programs.
Tobacco Control is cost effective, numerous academic studies have found that spending money on tobacco control pays for itself in future savings. for every dollar spent on state tobacco control programs, states save between three dollars and ten dollars by reducing smoking related healthcare costs.
Tobacco Control Works, The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also highlighted the importance of Tobacco Control Programs nationwide, and in 2007, published an update to their Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. The CDC recognizes the successes of Tobacco Control Programs over the last decade and recommends New York State fund tobacco control at levels seven times the current funding level for best results.
On January 30th, The American Cancer Society gave testimony to the State Senate which expands on the importance of the NYS Tobacco Control Program and the effects of reducing funding. You can find the full testimony here.
If you would like to contact your state legislator, you can contact them here. Governor Cuomo can be contacted here.
North Country Healthy Heart Network