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Legislators, health groups say NY anti-smoking programs underfunded

ALBANY--As some legislators are trying to increase funding for smoking cessation programs to federal recommendations, one lawmaker said he can’t even get an audit of current programs from the Cuomo administration.

Assemb. Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) sent a letter March 31 to the state Health Department requesting a required report for 2013. The annual report is supposed to evaluate the state’s anti-smoking programs. Hevesi also said the 2012 report was provided by the state Health Department over one year late.

Hevesi said his Oversight, Analysis and Investigations Committee found the independent company hired by the state to do the studies is no longer under contract.

The letter was released as the New York Public Interest Research Group, the American Cancer Association, the American Heart Association and other groups supported a legislative effort to increase funding for anti-smoking programs.

Assemb. Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) and state Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) said program funding is just $39 million now, down from $85 million in the 2006-07 fiscal year. They said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend the state spent $203 million based on its population and smoking trends.

There was no immediate comment from the state Health Department. The department has previous said its efforts and strategy are clearly successful because smoking rates are down.

 

 

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