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Statement: CDC Study Shows Public Health Efforts in California Including the State's Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention Program May Already be Saving Lives by Reducing State Rates of Lung and Bronchus Cancer

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
November 30, 2000

Washington, DC — A new study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Health Services provides powerful evidence that public health efforts, including California's pioneering tobacco prevention program, may already be saving lives by helping to reduce rates of lung and bronchus cancer in that state. The study, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), analyzes data collected from 1988 to 1997, and compares California's lung and bronchus cancer rates with rates for that period from five other states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, and Utah) and three large metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Detroit and Seattle). Among men, the decline in lung and bronchus cancer rates in California was 1.5 times larger than the decline in other areas. Among women, lung and bronchus cancer rates decreased by 4.8 percent in California compared to an increase of 13.2 percent in other areas studied. California's tobacco prevention program was implemented in 1990 with funding from a tobacco tax increase approved by voters in 1988.

The CDC's California study provides fresh and compelling evidence that comprehensive state tobacco prevention programs, when properly funded and implemented, can save countless lives. As a result of settlements with the tobacco industry, each and every state has the resources to fund such programs. Effective programs such as California's include smoking cessation clinics for adults and children, public education in schools and in the workplace, aggressive tobacco counter-marketing and strong enforcement of youth access laws. These measures are keeping kids away from tobacco addiction, lowering the incidence of lethal tobacco-caused disease and saving taxpayers millions of dollars in health-care costs.

The CDC's California study is further evidence that states have no excuse for delay in implementing a tobacco prevention program similar to those already achieving results in California, Massachusetts, Florida and several other states. Tobacco prevention programs are saving millions of lives and keeping kids away from tobacco addiction. When states refuse to create programs to discourage tobacco use, the only winners are the tobacco companies. The losers are America's kids and families.