Strong policy changes, respectable funding, and new direction at the Department of Health Tobacco Control Program (DOH TCP) have contributed to the next phase of New York’s tobacco control efforts. New York has been able to pass strong legislation in the areas of product placement, penalties for sales to minors, an excise tax increase, and a fire safe cigarettes law, despite somewhat unsupportive state policymakers. An improving tobacco control network and the work of local tobacco control champions helped push local clean indoor air policies, which led to a strong statewide clean indoor air law. These positive changes should lead to more progress by tobacco control advocates in New York provided funding can be maintained in the face of a large budget deficit.
Program Strengths & Challenges
Partners identified the following strengths and challenges of New York’s tobacco control program:
• The experience and leadership of the DOH TCP Director was a major strength of the program.
• Clean indoor air efforts throughout the state were also a strength.
• Partners were concerned about the security of funding due to the large state and city budget deficits.
• The highly politicized DOH environment and slow grant process were viewed as barriers to the program.
• Little support from state policymakers and the influence of the tobacco industry made implementing a comprehensive program challenging.