Following New York State’s budget, agreement, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has expressed its shock and dismay that the interests of tobacco and e-cigarette lobbyists are being put before public health.
While both chambers of the legislature and the governor included identical language to extend Clean Indoor Air protections to e-cigarettes, the final budget agreement does not include these protections. This is even more shocking given e-cigarette use is climbing quickly among youth. Over 20 percent of New York high school students now use e-cigarette products. A recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General called e-cigarette use among youth and young adults a public health concern and found nicotine use in any form, including e-cigarettes, is harmful to youth.
“E-cigarette use among school children is increasing,” said Bill Sherman, vice president, government relations, for ACS CAN. “Our kids are being lured by Big Tobacco to try e-cigarettes with flavors such as cotton candy and bubble gum. New York State’s workers also have a right to have a healthful environment in which to make a living and support their families and not have to breathe air that will get them sick. Lawmakers and the governor should stand up for kids over the e-cigarette industry.”
In addition to the last minute behind the scenes move to cater to e-cigarette interests, lawmakers and the governor have agreed to cuts that will decimate funding for cancer screenings. The New York State Cancer Services Program provides cancer screenings for those who are uninsured or underinsured in New York State. In the past year the program provided over 60,000 screenings for New York residents.
“We are shocked that Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie have callously turned their backs on those who do not have access to lifesaving cancer screenings. The Governor has touted his breast cancer campaign and said there are “No Excuses” not getting a mammogram,” Sherman stated. “Yet there are no excuses for cutting funding for cancer screenings. How can the governor call for increasing breast cancer screening rates and then abandon the women that rely on the program for a mammogram?”
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.