Broken Promises to Our Children

A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 18 Years Later

Despite receiving more than $26 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, the states continue to shortchange tobacco prevention and cessation programs that are proven to save lives and money.

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Broken Promises to Our Children:
A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 18 Years Later
December 14, 2016

Since the states settled their lawsuits against the major tobacco companies in 1998, our annual reports have assessed whether the states are keeping their promise to use a significant portion of their settlement funds – estimated at $246 billion over the first 25 years – to attack the enormous public health problems caused by tobacco use in the United States.

Despite receiving huge sums from the tobacco settlement and collecting billions more in tobacco taxes, the states continue to shortchange tobacco prevention and cessation programs that are proven to save lives and money.

In the current budget year, Fiscal Year 2017, the states will collect $26.6 billion from the settlement and taxes. But they will spend only 1.8 percent of it – $491.6 million – on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The states are spending less than two cents of every dollar collected in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.

Meanwhile, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – more than one million dollars each hour – to market their deadly and addictive products, according to the Federal Trade Commission. This means tobacco companies spend $18 to market their products for every $1 the states spend to reduce tobacco use.

This huge gap is undermining efforts to save lives and health care dollars by reducing tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

This report is issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.

Map: State Funding for Tobacco Prevention

Click on each state to view the full data. Follow this link for information on the District of Columbia.

Other key findings include:

  • The states are providing about 15 percent of the tobacco prevention funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only two states – North Dakota and Alaska – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended levels.
  • States with well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention programs continue to report significant progress. Florida, with one of the longest-running programs, reduced its high school smoking rate to 5.2 percent this year, one of the lowest ever reported by any state. North Dakotacut smoking among high school students by nearly half from 2009 to 2015.

The United States continues to make great strides in reducing cigarette smoking, with smoking rates falling to record lows in 2015 – 15.1 percent among adults and 10.8 percent among high school students. By properly funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs, the states can help to accelerate this progress and make the next generation tobacco-free.

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