State Prevention Funding Cuts Threaten Progress Against Tobacco
Less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue used to combat tobacco use
Posted by: Editor | Nov 30, 2011
States have slashed funding for programs to reduce tobacco use by 12 percent in the past year and by 36 percent over the past four years, threatening the nation’s progress against tobacco, according to a report released today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health organizations.
The states this year will collect a near-record $25.6 billion in revenue from the 1998 state tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.8 percent of it — $456.7 million — on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. In other words, the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
With nearly 20 percent of Americans still smoking, the report warns that continued progress against tobacco use — the nation’s number one cause of preventable death — is at risk unless states increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
State Tobacco Prevention Spending, FY1999-FY2012
Only Alaska and North Dakota currently fund tobacco prevention programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most states provide less than a quarter of the recommended funding, while four states — Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio — and the District of Columbia have allocated zero state funds for tobacco prevention this year.
While states are facing tight budgets, their failure to properly fund tobacco prevention programs is shortsighted and will cost them more in the long run in higher tobacco-related health care and productivity costs, which already total $193 billion a year. In fact, a new study published this week in the journal Contemporary Economic Policyfound that tobacco control programs can save states an astonishing 14-20 times more than the cost of implementing the programs.
The evidence is clear that tobacco prevention and cessation programs save lives and save money.
The report, titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.