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American Cancer Society says New York underspends on anti-smoking programs

Sudipto Sarkar

On the anniversary of the Great American Smokeout, a leading anti-cancer group says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration should be spending more to cut back on smoking.

The American Cancer Society’s Michael Burgess says while the Centers for Disease Control recommends New York state spend $200 million annually on tobacco cessation programs, the current state budget has just under $40 million allotted for it. Burgess says in the past, it’s been demonstrated that spending the money on things like a smokers quit line works.

“We believe it actually saves money, because we’re spending over $10 billion in health related costs for smoking,” Burgess said.

The smoking rate among New Yorkers has plateaued in recent years at around 16 percent, and the rate has actually increased recently in New York City. The state health department has quietly begun a new anti-smoking ad program featuring young people who developed cancer from smoking.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.