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Report: NY 21st in tobacco prevention funding

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm •  Published: December 7, 2012
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But Audrey Silk of the smokers' rights group CLASH, said taxpayers' money could be better spent.

"As a nation we're going over a 'fiscal cliff,' but let's spend hundreds of millions every year, duplicated by all levels of government, to eliminate the free will of informed adults to purchase a legal product," Silk said.

The report said New York spends just 1.8 percent of the annual $2.3 billion it receives from the tobacco settlement and from cigarette taxes on tobacco prevention programs. The rest goes to general funds.

The report also criticized the state for recent cuts in smoking cessation programs, including a 30 percent cut in 2010. Those cuts were mostly during hard times for New York state when tax revenues dropped during the Great Recession and in a slow recovery while officials sought to avoid tax increases. State spending in general was cut, although the smoking program's cut in 2010 was far deeper than most.

In 2013, states will use 1.8 percent of the $25.7 billion annual allotment from the tobacco settlement on programs that seek to prevent youths from smoking or helping smokers quit, according to the report, "Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 14 Years Later."

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Online:

http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/content/what_we_do/state_local_issues/settlement/FY2013/1.%202012%20State%20Report%20-%20Full.pdf

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AP Writer Michael Hill contributed to this report.