Posted by: audreybenenati | February 5, 2010

Obesity and tobacco cause most preventable deaths

Syracuse Post-Standard

February 5, 2010

To the editor:

Together, obesity and tobacco cause most preventable deaths and are a leading cause of avoidable disability and medical bills. These are burdening us with avoidably high health insurance premiums and taxes. One of the most effective ways to reduce both of these conditions is to increase the purchase price of the products that cause them.

According to data in the governor’s 2010-2011 Executive Budget Briefing Book, there is strong evidence that high prices decrease smoking. Evidence is emerging that the same strategy will be effective in reducing obesity.

Many of us “don’t like regulation”. Regardless of our feelings, the fact remains that regulation and changes in our environment affect human behavior. Increasing the cost of products that cause health problems is the best way to decrease consumption of those products−and with it, the associated medical and economic burdens.

Despite vigorous industry lobbying, extensive surveys show New Yorkers favor increasing the tax on tobacco products and sugar-sweetened beverages, and reducing tax evasion−especially if the money is used to prevent and treat disease.

The Trust for America’s Health reviewed outcomes of initiatives to prevent smoking, promote physical activity and improve nutrition. They found a return of $5.60 for every $1 invested.

Increasing taxes on tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages, then investing the revenue in prevention, is a winning strategy for New Yorkers.

Audrey Benenati, MHA, CASAC

Certified Smoking Cessation Specialist

BRiDGES –Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

(315) 697-3947


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