In her State of the State address in January, Governor Kathy Hochul called for a ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco products and an increase in the cigarette tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack. “These measures will lead the way to a tobacco-free generation, reduce youth smoking and prevent senseless death,” she asserted.

Even as state smoking rates for both adults (12%) and high school students (2.4%) have steadily decreased, tobacco use still remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death. Over 28,000 adults in NYS die each year from smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke; 750,000 live with smoking-related illness; 27% of all cancer deaths are attributable to tobacco. Annual health care costs directly caused by smoking total $9.7 billion, including $2.7 in Medicaid payments.

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