This letter is in response to the recent Associated Press article, "Study: Poor Smokers Spend 25% of Income on Cigs," that was in The Leader-Herald on Sept. 20.
While I can empathize with families that spend a large percentage of their income on taxes, my concern is the main message could be lost in this debate. Lower-income smokers are burdened by their tobacco use. They spend more on health care, as well as suffer and die more from smoking-caused disease. Add to that the fact lower-income individuals have limited access to health care, including smoking cessation service, and you can see how people are falling through the cracks.
This is where efforts need to improve and help support people in making successful attempts to quit. Everyone should get the help they need regardless of income. The focus needs to be on cessation and the prevention of New Yorkers becoming new smokers. New York state needs to do more to help people end their deadly addiction to tobacco.