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Letter: More Funding Needed For Tobacco Control

The American Lung Association joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in celebrating World No Tobacco Day on May 31. This year’s theme, Tobacco Industry Interference, focused on the need to expose and counter the industry’s increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine global tobacco control efforts.

What we’re seeing in New York, and throughout the country, is the point of sale product display marketing that is cleverly designed to appeal to children. On World No Tobacco Day, attention was drawn to the fact that when these tobacco displays are placed prominently at checkout counters next to candy and gum and outside of stores at kids’ eye level, it encourages them to smoke.

In New York alone, big tobacco spends over $1 million on marketing their deadly products each day. Meanwhile, states are failing to adequately invest in proven policies and programs to counteract this rampant tobacco marketing. About 3,000 American teenagers start smoking every day, roughly one million new teenage smokers annually; a third of those who will ultimately die from their addiction. More than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year as a result of smoking.

In the Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control report, released this year, New York State failed for tobacco prevention funding, spending only 20 percent of the CDC’s recommended level. Visit www.stateoftobaccocon-trol.org for more on New York’s grades, and to see what you can do.

Jeff Seyler, president and CEO
American Lung Association of the Northeast