US states have spent less on tobacco prevention during the past two years than in any period since the national tobacco settlement in 1998, despite record high revenues from the settlement and tobacco taxes, according to a story by Sabrina Tavernise for the New York Times quoting a report due for release today.
The states are on track to collect a record $25.7 billion in tobacco taxes and settlement money in the current fiscal year, but they are set to spend less than two per cent of that on prevention, according to the report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The report’s figures come from state appropriations for the fiscal year ending in June.
The settlement awarded states an estimated $246 billion over its first 25 years. It gave states complete discretion over the money, and many use it for programs unrelated to tobacco or to plug budget holes.
Public health experts say it lacks a mechanism for ensuring that some portion of the money is set aside for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. “There weren’t even gums, let alone teeth,” Timothy McAfee, the director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), said, referring to the allocation of funds for tobacco prevention and cessation in the terms of the settlement.
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in theUS, killing more than 400,000 people every year, according to the CDCP.
Category: Breaking News