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Impressive Victories for Tobacco Prevention in Arkansas and Oregon Ballot Initiatives

Voters Show Strong Support For Spending Tobacco Settlement Dollars on Prevention; Reject Using Settlement Funds for Non-Tobacco Related Issues
November 08, 2000

Washington, DC — Voters in Arkansas and Oregon spoke emphatically Tuesday, saying that they want tobacco settlement dollars used to fund comprehensive tobacco prevention programs in their states.

Arkansas voters overwhelmingly passed Initiated Act 1, which mandates that all future settlement payments go into a Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund which will be used to pay for comprehensive tobacco prevention and other healthcare needs. The measure, strongly supported by the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS, had the backing of Arkansas Governor Huckabee and a bi-partisan majority of Arkansas state legislators. The initiative allocates 31.6 percent of future tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention and cessation, making Arkansas a national leader in tobacco prevention.

In Oregon, voters strongly rejected Ballot Measures 4 and 89, which proposed to use funds from Oregon's share of the tobacco settlement to bail out the Oregon Health Plan and pay for other healthcare services. There was almost nothing set aside in either plan for tobacco prevention. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS opposed both Oregon ballot measures. Oregon voters responded to a campaign opposing the ballot measures, calling instead for using tobacco settlement payments to keep Oregon's kids from becoming addicted to tobacco.

'The voters in Arkansas and Oregon spoke loud and clear that they want tobacco settlement funds used for tobacco prevention programs. These are great victories for healthy kids and their families,' said Matthew L. Myers, President of the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. 'The Arkansas vote will ultimately save thousands of lives and millions of dollars. The Oregon vote sends a clear message to state legislators that Oregon's share of settlement funds should be spent on prevention and cessation. The CAMPAIGN congratulates the tobacco control advocates and volunteers in both states who worked so hard. We couldn't have asked for a better outcome.'