Spend more to save more

| June 2, 2017

The US state of New Jersey is considering dedicating to anti-smoking initiatives one percent of the roughly $700 million it collects each year from cigarette taxes, according to a story by Michael Symons for WKXM-FM.

New Jersey apparently spends $10 million a year on smoking programs, money that comes primarily from federal funds, whereas it used to spend $30 million on such programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the state should spend $103 million a year.

That situation might change a little if a bill that sailed through the Senate budget committee on Thursday makes it into law. The bill would dedicate one percent or $7 million of the state’s annual cigarette-tax revenue to anti-smoking initiatives.

It was a step in the right direction, said Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy. “Well, $7 million is a lot better than what we have right now,” she said. “Whatever type of funding is available to help people not start and to help those who are exposed to second-hand smoke and to help people quit is invaluable.”

Brian Shott of the American Cancer Society said the $7 million would eventually lead to 1,100 fewer premature smoking-related deaths and a nearly $68 million decrease in future health expenditures.

“This bill is a critical first step in ensuring that tobacco users in New Jersey are equipped with the resources that they need to quit their addictions and that others never start,” Shott said.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Tax

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