The American Lung Association faulted Connecticut and New York on their respective policies on tobacco sales and control in the 2019 edition of its “State of Tobacco Control” report.Connecticut was cited as one of three states that provided no funding for tobacco prevention programs; Tennessee and West Virginia were the other two. The association graded Connecticut with an F for its tobacco prevention efforts and for its failure to raise to establish 21 as the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco products. The state was graded a D on offering access to tobacco cessation services, a C on the strength of its smoke-free workplace laws and a B on the effectiveness of its tobacco taxes.
“Tobacco prevention and cessation program funding suffered a huge loss in the 2018 Connecticut Legislative Session,” the American Lung Association stated in its grading of the state. “The most disappointing and frustrating outcome of the session was the indefinite elimination of the funding for the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund. This last-minute language change in the budget completely eliminated the budget line for tobacco Master Settlement Agreement fund deposits to the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund in Connecticut. In October 2018, the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund Board met and confirmed that there is zero dollars within the fund and no future planned transfer. This is incomprehensible, especially given Connecticut has one of the highest cigarette taxes in the country, and must be reversed.”
Across the state border, the association graded New York with an F for tobacco prevention and for cessation funding, a C for access to cessation services and establishing 21 as the minimum age for tobacco purchasing, and an A on its smoke-free workplace laws.
“It is imperative that New York begin to counter the stagnation of funding that has plagued the tobacco control program for a number of years,” the association said. “Lack of funding has had a direct impact on the ability to fight the disparities in tobacco use that continue to exist in areas across our state. Increased funding will allow for interventions targeted to the specific populations that have smoking rates that are double or triple the rest of the population. New York must also ensure that we see a bill passed that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to those under 21. Additionally, New York must continue to pursue legislation which would license and tax the sale of electronic cigarettes at the state level. Currently e-cigarette retailers are not subject to licensing or taxation.”