As the Governor is drafting his budget proposal and lawmakers identify their appropriations priorities as part of the 2024 legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) calls for increased funding for the state tobacco control program and an increase in the state’s tobacco taxes, to ease the burden of tobacco and cancer in West Virginia.
ACS CAN Reacts to Governor Hochul’s 2023-24 Executive Budget Proposal
Governor takes historic step in tobacco use prevention & misses opportunity in cancer screening
ALBANY, NY – FEBRUARY 1, 2023 – Earlier today New York State Governor Kathy Hochul released her proposed budget for 2023. In response, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Senior New York Government Relations Director Michael Davoli, released the following statement:
“Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget marks a historic step in the fight to prevent cancer but misses an opportunity to expand access to cancer screening.
Tobacco Use Prevention & Cessation
“ACS CAN applauds Governor Hochul’s proposal to both increase the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack and end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products. In addition to saving New York State hundreds of millions of dollars in smoking-related health care costs and generating millions in revenue that can be put toward evidence-based tobacco cessation programs, an increase to the cigarette tax will result in significant health benefits, including saving over 15,300 lives and reducing the number of adults who currently smoke by 44,800.
“Governor Hochul’s decision to pair a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax with a proposal to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products is the aggressive action we need to curtail tobacco use and save lives. More than 80% of youth who smoke started with a flavored product. If New York state leaders wish to pave the way for a tobacco-free generation and help combat the health disparities intentionally driven by Big Tobacco’s predatory practices to addict Black Americans, LGBTQ and limited income communities, ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products—menthol, included—is a must-do and no-brainer.
“Missing from the Governor’s proposal is an increase in the tax on all other tobacco products (OTPs) that parallels the new cigarette tax rate as well as an increase in funding for New York State’s Tobacco Control Program (TCP). Raising state tax rates on OTPs, including e-cigarettes, will encourage people to quit rather than switch to a cheaper product when the tax is increased, and reinvesting in evidence-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs, like the TCP, is critical to reducing tobacco use.
Despite the TCP’s record of success, the 2023-2024 Executive budget proposal maintains the TCP budget of $39.8 million— less than half of what it was at its peak of $85 million in 2008 and far less than the $106 million the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends New York spend on its tobacco control program. More funding is needed to help ensure the program can reach New Yorkers who need it most. We encourage legislative leaders to show the same level of courage and join Governor Hochul in supporting each of these proposals and dedicating at least $13 million of the new cigarette tax revenue to the New York State Tobacco Control Program (TCP), increasing its budget in 2023-2024 to $52 million.
“While we are pleased with Governor Hochul’s commitment to saving lives from tobacco, we are thoroughly disappointed that she did not restore funding to the New York State Cancer Services Program (CSP) in her budget proposal, maintaining the CSP’s flat funding of $19.8 million, annually. Given its current resources, the CSP is only able to reach 18% of the entire eligible population in New York. Without increased funding, New York cannot expect to lower cancer incidence and mortality rates for the low-income, uninsured individuals served by the program across the state.
“To ensure that every New Yorker has access to breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening, we are calling on state leaders to recommit the 20% lost in 2017 and dedicate $25.6 million in 2023-2024 to the CSP, expanding the availability of screening to low-income, under- and uninsured residents.
“ACS CAN thanks Governor Hochul for her commitment to reducing tobacco use in New York State. We encourage the State Legislature to adopt the tobacco proposals included in her 2023-2024 budget while at the same time increasing funding to the New York State Tobacco Control Program to $52 million and the Cancer Services Program to $25.6 million in 2023-2024.”
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.