Anti-smoking groups: Cuomo budget cuts effort

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm •  Published: January 27, 2013
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Cuomo has turned other areas of the budget into competitive grants, including some school funding and economic development, to create what he says are more efficient plans and better use of scarce tax dollars. He said the structure that funds health programs for prevention, including anti-smoking efforts, is "inefficient and ineffective."

"All providers will have the opportunity to compete annually for new funding based upon their ability to deliver identified health outcomes," Cuomo's budget proposal says.

Anti-smoking programs aren't protected by any well-funded lobbyists and have been a target in tough budgets under the past four governors. Last year, Cuomo sought to cut $5 million from the program in his $132 billion budget. Funding was restored by the Legislature to the previous year's level, about $41 million, which is half of what it was in 2008, when the recession and budget cutting began.

The Centers for Disease Control says that based on its population, New York should be spending $254 million. The American Cancer Society notes that New York's cigarette tax, the highest in the nation, brings in $2 billion that state government uses for general operations, not smoking cessation programs.

The groups insist the state's TV ad campaigns and other programs such as nicotine patches and telephone support lines have worked to curb smoking in adults and to combat the rise in teenagers starting to smoke.

The advocates said about 12.6 percent of high school students smoke while 18 percent of adults smoke. They say nearly 110,000 New Yorkers will be diagnosed with cancer this year and that more than 34,000 will die.