New York Anti-Smoking Campaign Recognized as One of the Largest in the Nation

Federal Report Shows That State is in the Top Five in Spending to Fight Smoking

Dr. Novello: Report Does Not Include All Aspects of State Anti–Smoking Campaign

Albany, February 16, 2001 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr. P.H. today said that a recently released federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tobacco control report shows New York State with one of the largest anti–smoking programs in the nation. The report notes that in Total Tobacco Control Funding for 2001, New York State ranks fifth in the nation.

"When Governor Pataki took office, New York ranked at the bottom in tobacco control and spent a mere $2 million on anti–smoking initiatives," Dr. Novello said. "Thanks to Governor Pataki's leadership, New York is now spending 30 times more than the previous administration – $60 million – and is implementing the most aggressive anti–smoking campaign in State history."

The CDC report shows New York's tobacco control program budget at $42 million. While this figure still ranks New York as one of the highest funded programs in the nation, the current State Health Department budget for tobacco control is $60.5 million. If the CDC report used New York's total tobacco control budget of $60.5 million, the State would rank fourth in the nation in spending.

Further, Dr. Novello noted that while many other states are spending their money on roads and bridges, New York State is spending its tobacco settlement money on providing access to health care for the uninsured, providing seniors citizens with lower cost prescription drugs, and providing the state with the largest, most aggressive tobacco control program in State history.

"New York has one of the most comprehensive tobacco control programs in the nation and when it's coupled with the aggressive anti–smoking initiatives signed into law by the Governor, such as fire safe cigarettes, prohibiting sale of cigarette look–alikes to teens, tougher penalties for retailers who sell tobacco to teens, and cessation programs, we take a back seat to no one. We'll continue to implement effective anti–smoking outreach initiatives to encourage New Yorkers to live healthy lifestyles," said Dr. Novello.

Dr. Novello praised the CDC report, but also noted that it excluded important information as it relates to New York's initiatives. New York's total tobacco control budget is actually $18.5 million more than the CDC reported or $60.5 million. The report also does not take into account money being spent at the local level, which would be in addition to the State's budget, most notably the $13 million in New York City alone.

The federal report also fails to give appropriate credit to the recent 55–cent increase in New York's tobacco tax, which will have the biggest impact on hundreds of thousands of youngsters statewide who will now quit smoking or never start.

Youth Enforcement Activities:

In addition to the largest anti–smoking campaign in State history, New York has taken aggressive actions taken by the Governor to reduce smoking in New York through the signing of new laws to strengthen the State's youth enforcement program. A new measure signed into law by the Governor in August 2000 will increase the civil penalties for first–time violators who sell tobacco products to minors, establishes new and more stringent penalties for repeat violators and imposes a new fine for retail dealers who sell cigarettes to minors while their registration is suspended or revoked. Specifically, civil fines will be imposed in the following way:

  • Fines for first–time violators who sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18 were increased from a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $300 to a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,000.
  • A new fine for repeat violators who sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18 was set at a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,500.
  • A new fine for retail dealers who sell tobacco products while their registration is suspended or revoked was set at $2,500.

Along with increasing civil fines, the new law strengthens the suspension and revocation provisions for repeat violations. It mandates the suspension of a retail dealer's registration for six months for two violations and for one year for three or more violations. Retailers who violate the law while their registration is suspended or revoked will face permanent license revocation.

In addition, this law requires the suspension of a tobacco vendor's lottery license for six months for a second violation and permanent revocation for a third violation. To enhance public awareness and to further deter businesses from selling tobacco products to minors, the new law mandates the names and addresses of businesses that engage in illegal tobacco sales to be published in local newspapers. The new law took effect September 1, 2000.

Fire Safe Cigarettes:

Governor Pataki also recently signed into law the nation's first Fire–Safe Cigarette Law. The new law requires all cigarettes sold in New York to be designed in a "fire–safe" manner that will prevent continuous burning when they are not smoked for a specified period of time. The law also includes tough new enforcement provisions to help combat cigarette bootlegging.

Prohibit Sale of Look–A–Like Cigarettes:

Additionally, effective February 1, 2001, herbal cigarettes cannot be sold to people under 18 years of age. Lastly, effective October 1, 2001, bidis, a tobacco product which is attractive to young people, may only be sold to adults by a tobacco business such as a tobacco speciality shop.

State's $60 Million Anti–Smoking Campaign:

As stated in his 2000 State of the State address, Governor Pataki's goal is to reduce teenage smoking by 50 percent over the next five years. Under the Governor's leadership, the State has undertaken a comprehensive, $60.5 million statewide anti–smoking and tobacco control effort, which includes:

  • Support for school–based tobacco prevention programs;
  • Creation of the largest anti–tobacco advertising program in State history;
  • Promotion of smoking cessation services;
  • Support for a statewide tobacco quitline;
  • Advertising aimed at adult smoking cessation;
  • Advertising to highlight the dangers of secondary smoke; and
  • Coverage of prescribed and over–the–counter smoking cessation products.

2/16/01–16 OPA