Report Shows Most States Falling… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
sign up

Report Shows Most States Falling Short in Using Tobacco Settlement Funds for Tobacco Prevention

States Failing to Act Despite Growing Evidence that Prevention Programs Work
January 11, 2001

Washington, DC — A large majority of states are failing to use their share of the November 1998 multi-state tobacco settlement to adequately fund tobacco prevention programs, according to a report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

View the full report, including state-specific information and a chart ranking each of the states based on their funding for tobacco prevention.

Only 17 states have committed substantial funds for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Of these, only six states – Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Mississippi – are funding tobacco prevention programs at minimum levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for effective, comprehensive programs.

'The states' funding of tobacco prevention and cessation programs is woefully inadequate given the magnitude of the problem,' concludes the report, entitled 'Show Us the Money: An Update on the States' Allocation of the Tobacco Settlement Dollars.'

The report was sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association. Public health groups have advocated that states allocate funds from the $246 billion settlement for tobacco prevention according to CDC guidelines (approximately 20 to 25 percent of each state's settlement funds).

Nearly one out of every three deaths from cancer, one out of five deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 87 percent of lung cancer cases in our nation are attributable to tobacco use. More than 400,000 Americans die of tobacco-related disease each year. About 90 percent of current smokers took up the habit at or before age 18.

'While some states have made important progress, too many states are missing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity provided by the settlement to protect our kids and reduce the leading preventable cause of death in our nation today,' said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

'The lawsuits were brought by states against the tobacco industry to reduce the public health toll of tobacco, but the states are not living up to their promise to fight this epidemic,' said M. Cass Wheeler, CEO of the American Heart Association. 'The states' failure to fund effective programs is tragic because evidence is now conclusive that comprehensive programs work to reduce death from cardiovascular disease and other tobacco-related illnesses.'

There is growing evidence from the six states that have comprehensive tobacco prevention programs – Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Oregon – that these programs are working to reduce smoking rates, save lives, and reduce health care expenditures.

Florida's program has reduced smoking rates by 40 percent among middle school students and 18 percent among high school students in two years, while Massachusetts' program has reduced smoking rates among high school students by 15 percent since 1995. Since 1988, tobacco consumption in California has declined by 50 percent compared to 30 percent for the country as a whole. Two recent studies show that California's pioneering program is not only reducing tobacco consumption, but also saving lives by reducing rates of heart disease and lung and bronchial cancer.

'The states should not squander this opportunity. Comprehensive tobacco prevention programs are an excellent investment,' said John R. Garrison, CEO of the American Lung Association. 'With a modest commitment, the entire nation can replicate the dramatic reduction in youth smoking that comprehensive programs deliver.'

The report also found that the tobacco companies are spending ten times more to market their products than all 50 states are spending on tobacco prevention. Despite the settlement's prohibition on tobacco marketing to kids, recent studies show that tobacco advertising and marketing that reaches kids has actually increased since the settlement. A Massachusetts Department of Public Health study released in May showed that tobacco advertising in magazines with high youth readership increased after the settlement. A similar study released in July by the University of Illinois at Chicago showed increased tobacco advertising in convenience stores frequented by kids. The Federal Trade Commission, in its most recent report on the issue, found that the tobacco companies spent a total of $6.7 billion marketing their products in 1998.

'Although the settlement has eliminated or reduced some types of advertising like billboards, the tobacco companies are finding new ways to reach our kids. Sadly, these recent studies confirm that tobacco companies have increased advertising in youth-oriented magazines, as well as in convenience stores frequented by youth,' said John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO of the American Cancer Society.

Specific results from the report show:

  • Seventeen states have made substantial commitments to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs (more than half of the CDC minimum), but of those states, only six met the CDC's minimum funding levels.

  • Thirteen states have committed only modest amounts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs (one-quarter to one-half of the CDC minimum).

  • Fourteen states have committed minimal amounts to tobacco prevention and cessation (less than one-quarter of the CDC minimum).

  • Three states that have decided how to spend their settlement money committed none of the money to tobacco prevention (one of these, California, funds a tobacco prevention program with state tobacco excise taxes).

  • Four states and the District of Columbia have not decided how to allocate their settlement money.