Governor Pataki has announced $19.7 million in funding to prevent and reduce tobacco use across the state

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Governor George E. Pataki has announced $19.7 million in funding for the support of 19 tobacco cessation centers and 74 community-based organizations to prevent and reduce tobacco use across the state. The programs further strengthen the State's efforts to help smokers combat their addiction and reduce the prevalence of smoking among New Yorkers.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to help more New Yorkers live longer, healthier and happier lives," Governor Pataki said. "The expansion of tobacco cessation centers is an important part of our historic and continuing effort to help smokers quit. As many smokers or former smokers know, it's extremely difficult to kick the habit. The expansion of these centers will give even more New Yorkers the help they need to quit once and for all."

"Community-based organizations are critical partners in providing the public with the information they need concerning the dangers of smoking. Our continued financial commitment to them is another component of our comprehensive effort to help more New Yorkers understand those dangers so they can avoid the use of tobacco altogether," the Governor added.

The funding announced today is part of a five-year, $87 million commitment by the Governor to stop cigarette smoking and the use of tobacco products by New Yorkers. In addition to this new funding initiative, the Governor has over the past eight years dedicated historic funding levels totaling approximately $220 million to support anti-smoking and tobacco control initiatives in New York State.

Approximately $5 million of the funding announced today has been dedicated to the support of the 19 tobacco cessation centers run by hospitals, health centers and community-based organizations throughout New York State. The centers will train and support health care organizations to implement federal guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for treating nicotine addiction. Under the federal guidelines for treating tobacco dependence, all healthcare organizations must develop standardized systems for identifying patients who use tobacco and provide them with advice to quit.

The remaining $14.7 million will support 74 community-based organizations and county-run programs dedicated to the prevention and reduction of tobacco use among New Yorkers. These community-based organizations continue to provide outreach to New Yorkers about the dangers associated with smoking and, at the same time, are making smoking a less and less acceptable behavior, particularly among youth.

State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H said, "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Pataki, New York's tobacco control initiatives are providing our communities with expanded access to vital resources to help New Yorkers quit smoking. Equally important, the community outreach provided by the grassroots tobacco partnerships is helping reduce the acceptability of tobacco use and is stopping so many of our youth from ever smoking in the first place."

According to the State Health Department experts, studies show that up to half of all smokers will die prematurely as a result of their addiction, losing an average of 14 years of life. Young smokers who quit smoking by 30 years of age dramatically decrease their chance of dying early from tobacco-related diseases. Research shows that smokers who obtain advice from their doctors to quit smoking are 30 percent more likely to do so successfully.

Since the enhancement and expansion of New York's anti-smoking campaign under the Governor's direction in 1996, State Health Department statistics show that the number of everyday smokers declined from 19.2 percent in 1996 to 16.9 percent in 2002. In addition, the percentage of everyday smokers in New York State who made attempts to quit smoking within a 12-month period increased from 49.6 percent in 2001 to 57.9 percent in 2002.

The latest data show a noticeable decline in the prevalence of smoking among New York's young people. The use of cigarettes by middle school students statewide declined from 10.1 percent in 2000 to 6.7 percent in 2002. The use of cigarettes among high school students also declined, dropping from 27.4 percent in 2000 to 21.3 percent in 2002.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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