The fight to stop the tobacco industry’s dangerous hold on our country’s health is ever-changing and demands strong, comprehensive public policy change.
New Report: States Woefully Underfunding Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Programs
A new report released today by ACS CAN and several public health partners the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights finds that states are spending less than two cents of every dollar they receive from 1998 tobacco settlement funds and tobacco taxes on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Put simply: states are missing a tremendous opportunity to save millions of lives and billions of health care dollars by shortchanging proven programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. How much are they shortchanging these programs? The annual report, Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 16 Years Later, finds that of the $25.6 billion states will collect from tobacco settlement funds and tobacco taxes less than 2 percent $490.4 million will be spent on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Clearly every state has plenty of tobacco-generated revenue to fund a tobacco prevention program at CDC-recommended levels (less than 13 percent of total state tobacco revenues), yet, when federal and state funds are taken together, only two states are Alaska and North Dakota. This is shameful when we know that these programs save lives and money. If we're going to protect vulnerable people from the unscrupulous tactics of the tobacco industry, lawmakers across the country must prioritize fully funding tobacco cessation and prevention programs, in addition to passing comprehensive smoke-free laws and significantly increasing tobacco taxes. As concluded in this year's U.S. Surgeon General's report on the health consequences of smoking, these three actions continue to be the gold standards for reducing death and disease caused by tobacco use. Tobacco use remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in our country, and continues to be responsible for one-third of all cancer deaths. State legislatures cannot ignore their role in this public health epidemic you can rest assured ACS CAN and our million-strong volunteer network are diligently working to make sure curbing tobacco use remains a priority with our nation's lawmakers.