Statement on NY Cig Tax Injunction

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from the American Cancer Society
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Paul McGee 716-689-6982 x103 (office) 716-523-6874 (cell)


For Immediate Release:

Injunction Delays Tax Collection, Delays Health Gains
Statement from Donald Distasio, CEO, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ, regarding Federal District Court injunction halting tax collection on cigarettes shipped to Indian reservations.

"This case is not about legal and regulatory technicalities. It's about thousands of people who will get sick and die because of access to cheap, untaxed cigarettes."

Donald Distasio

“While the injunction is a temporary setback, it is not the end. New Yorkers have been waiting for decades to see these taxes enforced. Sadly, while we continue to wait, people suffer and die as a result of the ravages of tobacco.

“Collecting taxes will raise the price of cigarettes, and we know that the higher price will prompt an estimated 100,000 smokers to quit because they won’t be able to obtain cheaper, untaxed packs through reservations. But for now, many smokers will continue to suffer deteriorating health because they still have access to low-cost cigarettes, prolonging their deadly addiction.

“Earlier this summer, New York took the lead when it raised the cigarette tax to $4.35 per pack. But in order to realize the full benefit, the tax must be collected everywhere cigarettes are sold. The impact of universal collection would be huge in lives spared, health care dollars saved and revenue raised for health programs.

“The American Cancer Society is confident that the state has the legal authority to collect taxes on sales to non-Indians. The Society supports the governor’s steadfast intent to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations and knows that he will not let this obstacle hinder the state from pursuing this vital public health action. We also urge the Attorney General to vigorously defend the public health interest of New Yorkers in this case. ”



About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit


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