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New York State receives mediocre grades from the ALA

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By Michelle Checchi

Editor-in-Chief

asp_online@hotmail.com

Jan 27, 2015

New York isn’t quite making the grade when it comes to tobacco control, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). Last week, the ALA published their 13th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which grades the states, as well as the federal government, on tobacco control laws.

   New York State received an “A” in the category of Smokefree Air, a “B” in Tobacco Taxes, a “D” in Access to Cessation Services, and an “F” in the category of Tobacco Prevention.

New York’s grades, via stateoftobaccocontrol.org
New York’s grades, via stateoftobaccocontrol.org

   In general, the report showed lackluster results. According to the ALA’s website, “‘State of Tobacco Control 2015’ finds 2014 was generally a disappointing year with little to no progress made at the state and federal levels.”

   Some highlights: Seven states received all “F” grades, and 41 states received an “F” grade for funding tobacco control programs below the recommended levels.

   The federal government received shockingly low grades: an “F” for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products, an “F” for Tobacco Taxes, a “D” for Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and a “C” for Cessation Coverage.

   New York received additional criticism for the lack of state legislature on tobacco control issues that went through to legislative session this year.

   However, New York has the highest cigarette tax in the country, a whopping $4.35 per pack.

   Additionally, both New York City and Suffolk County implemented “Tobacco 21” laws this year, raising the age to purchase tobacco products or electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in those jurisdictions.

   There are different grading methodologies used for each category, and the specifics differ at the state and federal level.

   Some of the grading factors include Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publications and recommendations, criteria developed by the National Cancer Institute, and reports from the U.S. Surgeon General.

   Data from the 2010-2014 reports was unavailable online, and the ALA did not immediately respond to media requests. However, it was noted on the ALA website that all four grading categories at the state level were revised for the 2015 report, and that due to this, “all state grades from ‘State of Tobacco Control 2015’ cannot be directly compared to grades from ‘State of Tobacco Control 2014’ or earlier reports.”

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