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Letter: Tobacco Control Program Should Not Have Been Cut

As a New Yorker I was disheartened to hear that the New York State Tobacco Control Program has been slashed to $41 million. This will no doubt be a disservice to the people of New York.

Over the years, the Tobacco Control Program has helped the rate of smoking among the youth of New York drop from 27.1 percent to 12.6 percent. The Tobacco Control Program funds smoking cessation centers, the New York State Quitline, distribution of nicotine replacement therapy, and media campaigns to let people know the program was available. This program helped the 116,000 New Yorkers who called the Quitline last year for help with their smoking habit, which is the greatest risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

While we can applaud the fact that the budget was on-time, these cuts to tobacco control will mean higher health care costs down the road as fewer smokers are supported to quit and more children become addicted.

Jeffrey Bernstein

Chairman of the

American Heart Association

Long Island Board of Directors