Healthy Michigan Amendment Keeps the… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Healthy Michigan Amendment Keeps the Promise to Use the Tobacco Settlement for Tobacco Prevention

Statement by William V. Corr Executive Vice President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 13, 2002

Washington, DC — We strongly endorse the Healthy Michigan Amendment, which would amend the Michigan Constitution and dedicate 90 percent of the state's tobacco settlement fund to health programs, particularly tobacco prevention. If approved, this amendment will keep the promise of the tobacco settlement to address the tobacco problem, which Michigan leaders so far have failed to do. Michigan currently ranks last in the country in funding tobacco prevention, spending none of its settlement money to protect kids from tobacco. This ballot initiative would make Michigan a national leader by funding a $45 million comprehensive, statewide tobacco prevention program that would reduce tobacco's deadly toll.

By failing to provide any funding for tobacco prevention, Michigan's leaders have let down the state's kids and taxpayers. The Healthy Michigan Amendment gives voters a chance to make up for the failures of their policymakers. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is one of the smartest and most fiscally responsible investments that Michigan can make. We have conclusive evidence that tobacco prevention works. States that have implemented such programs have dramatically cut smoking among both children and adults, reduced the incidence of lung cancer and heart disease, and saved millions of dollars in health care costs.

Reducing smoking: Since starting its program in 1998, Florida has cut smoking rates by 47 percent among middle school students and 30 percent among high school students. This decline represents nearly 75,000 fewer youth smokers and more than 24,000 fewer premature smoking deaths. Since 1997, Maine has cut smoking by 36 percent among high school students, while Oregon has cut smoking by 41 percent among eighth graders.

Saving Lives: Recent studies show that California, which started the nation's oldest tobacco prevention program in 1989, has saved tens of thousands of lives by reducing smoking-caused birth complications, heart disease, strokes and lung cancer.

Saving money for taxpayers: Studies have shown that California and Massachusetts, which have long-running tobacco prevention programs, are saving up to $3 in smoking-caused health costs for every dollar spent on tobacco prevention.

Tobacco's toll in Michigan is devastating – 29,500 kids become regular, daily smokers every year, one-third of whom will die prematurely. Smoking-caused health care costs Michigan and its taxpayers $2.6 billion a year. The Healthy Michigan Amendment is the state's best hope for breaking tobacco's cycle of addiction, disease and death.