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.


Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Tax

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