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NY Gets Failing Grades for Tobacco Prevention & Program Funding


The American Lung Association’s 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report released on Wednesday revealed that New York earned a failing grade for Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding, and a D grade for failing to pass statewide legislation to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the state. The 22nd annual report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in New York and across the country and takes the lives of 28,170 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of New York lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Trevor Summerfield, director of advocacy at the American Lung Association in New York. “This year, we are working with state policymakers to preserve funding for the New York State tobacco control program and pass new legislation that would both end the sale of all flavored tobacco products and eliminate loopholes on the sale of e-cigarettes.”

2023 was a productive year for tobacco control in New York with the legislature increasing the excise tax to a nation-leading $5.35 per pack of cigarettes and a $7.5 million increase in tobacco control program funding included as part of the state budget, part of which came from the settlement by Attorney General Letitia James with Juul Labs that was finalized in 2023. Unfortunately, even with the increase in funding New York State only funds tobacco control programs at 24.5% of the CDC recommended level. In addition, the report makes clear that New York children remain at risk, due to the availability of flavored e-cigarettes, while menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with over 80% of Black individuals who smoke using them.

Summerfield concluded, “Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, will not only help end youth vaping but will address health disparities.”

New York Grades

The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, New York received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade B
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade B
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade D

Federal Grades Overview

This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay in the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade: A
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete*

*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.”

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