Cancer-Fighting Measures and the 2011 New York State Budget

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American Cancer Society Analyzes how Key Programs Fared in the State’s New Fiscal Plan?

Albany, NY (April 1, 2011) - The New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo recently finalized the 2011-12 state budget. Here’s how issues of interest to the American Cancer Society fared:

NYS Tobacco Control Program (TCP)
The TCP received funding of $41.4 million, a $17 million (or 30 percent) cut from its current year appropriation of $58.4 million.

“We did everything we could to prevent this cut, including massive grassroots activity, paid advertisements with our coalition partners, legislative advocacy, and media outreach,” said Sherry Tomasky, Grassroots Advocacy Director, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ. “Thanks to our committed volunteers and staff, complete elimination of the program as initially proposed by the Assembly was averted.”

This cut will have a detrimental impact on tobacco cessation and prevention efforts in New York. While the TCP will have to determine how to absorb the cuts across its service lines, it is logical that smoking cessation interventions, youth prevention initiatives, and hard-hitting media advertising will be severely curtailed.

NYS Cancer Services Program (CSP)
The CSP is funded at $26.7 million, which is $650,000 less funding than last year.  The NYS Department of Health, which oversees the CSP, will determine how that cut will be absorbed.  Assurances are that there will be no impact on the actual breast, cervical and colon cancer screening program and that any reductions will be for non-screening initiatives, such as legal services and provider training.

Medicaid
The American Cancer Society led efforts to expand smoking cessation benefits under Medicaid.  Along with coalition partners, a recommendation was made to the Medicaid Redesign Team to allow Medicaid clients greater access to smoking cessation counseling.  This expansion of the smoking cessation benefit was adopted in the new state budget.

Other Items
An attempt to reduce the cigar tax enacted last year was rejected.

The tobacco retail license fee was reduced to $300 from a graduated system adopted two years ago that started at $1,000 and went up to $5,000, based on sales.  The higher fees were never been implemented due to litigation.  The new fee, which is higher than the original $100 fee, is likely to end any pending litigation.

Additional Resources:
Fight Back Podcast: Russ Sciandra on Cuts to the Tobacco Control Program
NY to Big Tobacco: "We'll Help You Get New Customers"
New York State Tobacco Control Program 

New York State Smokers' Quitline

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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 more than $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 any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.