Most US states show scant interest in smoking fight

| May 30, 2012

May 25, 2012A report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that US states have been spending a small and dwindling portion of their tobacco revenues on programs to prevent young people from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a PRNewswire story from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK).

‘From 1998 to 2010, the states collected a combined $243.8 billion in revenue from legal settlements with the tobacco industry and from cigarette taxes, but appropriated only $8.1 billion for tobacco prevention and cessation programs (counting both state funding and federal grants),’ the story said.

‘Total funding for these programs amounted to just 3.3 per cent of the states’ tobacco revenues and less than 28 per cent of the CDC’s recommended amount.

‘This is particularly tragic because, as the report also found, states that have made sustained investments in comprehensive tobacco control programs have seen cigarette sales drop about twice as much as in the United States overall.’

And the states’ record in respect of fighting tobacco use has become even worse during the past several years, as was shown by a report released in November by the CTFK and other public health organizations. ‘The states have slashed funding for tobacco prevention programs by 36 per cent in the past four years,’ the story continued.

‘In the current budget year (fiscal year 2012), the states will collect $25.6 billion in tobacco revenue, but will spend less than two per cent of it – $456.7 million – on tobacco prevention programs.

‘Total state spending currently amounts to just 12 per cent of what the CDC recommends.’

The CTFK said that the CDC report had confirmed that most states had broken the promises they made at the time of the 1998 tobacco settlement to invest a significant portion of their settlement funds in fighting tobacco use, especially among young people. ‘The states’ failure amounts to an enormous missed opportunity to accelerate progress against tobacco use in the United States,’ the story said.

‘It’s also no coincidence that smoking declines have slowed at the same time that states have slashed tobacco prevention funds.’

Category: Breaking News

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