Caitlin O’Brien, the Heart Association’s government relations director, brings us an Update From Albany.

With New York State finalizing the state budget this past weekend, the Heart Association scored some great public health wins. With the Governor threatening to cut millions of dollars in funding to crucial public health programs, AHA staff and advocates worked hard to make sure this didn’t come to fruition. After months of email, calls, and meetings with elected officials, our hard work paid off and the cuts were rejected in the final budget. This means programs like the Hypertension Program, aimed at reducing rates of heart disease and stroke, will continue to get $692,000 in critical funding. Additionally, the Obesity/Diabetes Prevention Program received $5.9 million, which will help people in communities across the State live healthier lives. Lastly, our elected officials held steady funding aimed at tobacco cessation in the Tobacco Control Program.

As we look toward the rest of the legislative session, we have plenty of policy priorities to support. Here is what we will be focusing on:

  • Raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 through the passage of Tobacco 21.
  • Prohibiting flavored tobacco products which the tobacco industry targets to youth
  • Instituting healthy vending machines throughout state owned properties
  • Offering healthier, non-sugary beverages in children’s meals at restaurants

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Join us on May 8 for Lobby Day at the New York State Capitol to push for the passage of Tobacco 21. Email me at Caitlin.Obrien@heart.org to learn more or sign up.
  • Take action when you get an email from You’re the Cure! With one click, you can let your legislator know that you support the American Heart Association’s initiatives.