Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding New York's Anti-smoking Efforts

New York State has always been regarded as a national leader on public health issues, including anti-smoking efforts. Today, however, this standing -- and the well-being of our citizens -- is being jeopardized by the state's failure to fund adequately tobacco prevention and control programs.

Our state's per capita expenditures on such programs are significantly less than other states. We are clearly not doing all we can to reduce tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.

Many of these deaths -- estimated at 30,000 annually in New York alone -- could be avoided. In addition, the massive health care costs associated with tobacco illnesses could be dramatically reduced through a stronger financial commitment to the problem.

In this regard, I strongly support the Centers for Disease Control recommendation that at least $90 million be spent annually for a comprehensive, statewide tobacco prevention and control program.

I urge the Legislature and the Executive to work together to devote the resources necessary to restore New York to a position of leadership on this critical public health issue.