ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new study by public health groups said New York’s spending on anti-smoking programs aimed at kids is only high enough to rank the state 18th nationally.

The Center for a Tobacco Free New York said there is a direct relationship between funding and smoking. The center’s Russ Sciandra says that when the anti-smoking TV ads stop, the number of smokers rises.

The report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and other health groups found New York spent 23 percent under the level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gov. David Paterson says it’s an agonizing problem. He has tried to frame much of his administration around two issues: Cutting deficits and promoting better public health for kids.

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