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Report Finds That State Tobacco Prevention Programs Save Lives

Report Underscores Need for States to Invest Tobacco Settlement Dollars in Tobacco Prevention
February 10, 2000

Washington, DC - Comprehensive state tobacco prevention programs are succeeding in reducing smoking rates and saving lives, according to a new report released today by the National Cancer Policy Board, a joint program of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

The report, entitled 'State Programs Can Reduce Tobacco Use,' concludes, 'As states contemplate increasing their tobacco control efforts, many have asked if such programs can make a difference. The evidence is clear: They can.'

The study also reached several specific conclusions about tobacco prevention efforts: programs are most effective when they are multifaceted; the effectiveness of counteradvertising and education depend on their 'intensity' and 'dose'; and raising the price of tobacco products is one of the fastest and most effective ways to discourage children from smoking.

The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS urged governors and state legislators to act on the report's findings by investing tobacco settlement funds in comprehensive tobacco prevention programs.

'With such overwhelming evidence that comprehensive programs work, state legislators have no excuse not to invest tobacco settlement dollars in tobacco prevention,' said CAMPAIGN President Matthew L. Myers. 'It is unconscionable that any state would deny its citizens such clear and demonstrated public health benefits.'

The report points out that the most aggressive and comprehensive programs have achieved the most striking results:

  • California's program, established in 1989, has produced a decline in cigarette consumption over 50 percent faster than the national average.
  • Massachusetts' program produced a 15 percent decline in adult smoking between 1993 and 1999 - compared to very little change nationally - reducing the number of adult smokers in the state by more than 150,000. [Massachusetts has also seen a decline in smoking rates among high school students of 15 percent between 1995 and 1999.]
  • Florida's program dramatically reduced youth smoking in its first year. [Actual declines were 19 percent among middle school students and eight percent among high school students in 1998, the program's first year.]
  • Oregon's program, funded by a cigarette tax increase approved by voters in 1996, produced a decline in cigarette consumption of 11 percent in its first two years. [More recent data showed that the decline has now reached 20 percent. Youth smoking rates also declined from 1998 to 1999 - from 31.7 percent to 26.3 percent among eleventh grade students and from 21.3 percent to 14.8 percent among eight graders.]

Comprehensive tobacco prevention includes cessation programs, public education, countermarketing media campaigns, and enforcement of youth access laws as well as increasing state excise taxes on tobacco.

The study can be found on the Internet at