BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Anti-tobacco advocates called on the state legislature to pass Gov. Kathy Hochul’s tobacco proposals and increase funding for tobacco cessation programs, like the New York State Tobacco Control Program, at the Delavan Grider Community Center Monday.

Hochul has proposed banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, and increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

“I am greatly concerned about the exploitative and abusive relationship between the tobacco industry and the African-American community,” George Nicholas, a pastor at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, said at Monday’s press conference. “This has historically not been limited to adults, but they have also targeted our children.”

An average of 2,624 Erie County residents were diagnosed with a cancer linked to tobacco use every year between 2015 and 2019, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, with an average of 892 county residents dying from use-linked cancer annually during the same time period.

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