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Letter: Supports Increasing Cigarette Tax

Last week I traveled with the American Heart Association to Albany to let our representatives know what they can do to help in the fight against heart disease, the No. 1 killer of New Yorkers. I survived my heart attack but many won’t.

The 2010-11 Executive Budget proposes to increase the cigarette tax to further encourage New Yorkers to quit smoking, discourage non-smokers from starting to smoke and to keep New York’s children healthy. Revenues from this dedicated tax increase will be invested, through HCRA, in the State’s numerous health care programs.

Increasing the cigarette tax is a win, win, win solution for New York - a health win that reduces smoking and saves lives; a fiscal win that raises revenue and reduces health care costs; and a political win that is supported by New York citizens.

Cigarette taxes are a proven strategy to decrease smoking. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes will reduce youth smoking by about 7 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent.

An increase in the cigarette tax in New York would prevent 106,500 children from becoming smokers in the future. For every three children prevented from becoming smokers, one smoking-caused death is averted.

I am encouraging all State Legislators to include a cigarette tax increase as part of the final budget package.

William Fischer
American Heart Association
Long Island Board of Directors