State Anti-Smoking Budget Slashed

NY Gov. David Paterson

NY Gov. David Paterson

As Albany begins to nitpick what parts of the budget will be cut, Governor David Paterson is on the verge of cutting funding for a program that he has pioneered more than any other governor in the country, New York’s anti-smoking campaign.

Ever since Paterson came into office, he and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg have gone after smokers with a vengeance, both through taxes and through advertising.

Ironically, while the Governor’s campaign has been somewhat controversial, the $10 million cut in funding will affect the widely supported state program that provides free nicotine patches and helps people receiving Medicaid quit smoking.

While the cut isn’t much in comparison to the billions that will be slashed from the budget, it does weaken a favorite pet project of Paterson’s.

Over the past few years, the governor and Bloomberg have directly attacked the wallets of smokers in New York, raising pack prices in New York City to more than $10 a pop. That’s $20 a day for a heavy smoker!

While some have claimed that it was the informational campaign that has pushed people away from cigarettes, the fact that smoking rates have gone up everywhere except New York during the recession just goes to show that people haven’t quit smoking because they wanted to but because they simply couldn’t afford it anymore.

While anti-smoking activists are happy with the results, critics attack the program that is expected to push other local, state, and even federal governments to simply tax the hell out of anything that they don’t like.

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