New York Mayoral Candidate Fernando Ferrer Should Immediately Return All Tobacco Contributions; Statement of Lori Fresina, N.E. Regional Director, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
NEW YORK, Oct. 9 -- The following is a statement by Lori Fresina, Northeast Regional Director, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund:
"Under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, New York City in the past several years has been a national leader -- indeed, a world leader -- in fighting tobacco use and its terrible toll in health and lives and on our pocketbooks. It is imperative that New York City continues to be a leader in fighting tobacco use both for the sake of New Yorkers’ health and for the example that it sets for our nation and the world.
"However, we are concerned that tobacco interests will seek to undermine the significant progress that New York City has made in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. In particular, we are concerned and disappointed that Fernando Ferrer’s mayoral campaign has accepted more than $36,000 (see Note) in contributions from individuals with tobacco interests. We call on Mr. Ferrer and all candidates who have received campaign contributions from tobacco interests to immediately return these contributions and to adopt a policy of no longer accepting contributions from tobacco interests. Such a policy would send a clear message to New York voters that their health comes first and that there is no turning back in New York City’s fight to reduce tobacco use. Accepting tobacco contributions sends the wrong message. All candidates should support a healthier city and commit to continuing and building on the strong policies that are now in place, especially the city’s comprehensive smoke-free workplace law.
"We applaud Mayor Bloomberg for passing and remaining a dedicated champion of the tobacco prevention and cessation initiatives that have made New York City a healthier place to live. During his administration, the city has implemented all three of the best, scientifically proven policies to reduce smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke that are recommended by our nation’s public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These policies include the city’s comprehensive smoke-free workplace law that includes restaurants and bars; a high cigarette tax; and effective programs to help smokers quit and prevent kids from starting in the first place.
"These policies have produced dramatic reductions in smoking rates. They have improved health, saved lives and saved money by reducing smoking-related health care costs. Because of these policies, smoking rates in New York City have declined by more than twice the rate of the entire nation. From 2002 to 2004, smoking rates among New York adults declined by about 15 percent, compared to about seven percent nationally. These declines mean there are 188,000 fewer smokers in New York City and 60,000 fewer New Yorkers who will die a premature death because of tobacco.
“We urge Fernando Ferrer and all candidates to return all contributions from tobacco interests. The citizens of New York City deserve a mayoral race that is entirely free of any and all tobacco influence.”
The Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund reviewed disclosure statements for each of the major mayoral candidates in the 2005 election. For the purpose of this analysis, the total contributions from tobacco interests include the following: contributions from tobacco company employees, contributions from employees of a company or organization with a major interest in tobacco (tobacco distribution, parent company, etc.), contributions from spouses of a tobacco company employee or employee of an organization with a major interest in tobacco, and contributions where the listed “intermediary” is an employee of a tobacco company or organization with a major interest in tobacco. For a list of the campaign contributions please contact Michael Berman at 202-253-8139.
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