Missouri Needs to Spend Money to Stop Smoking

January 27, 2019


Missouri needs to spend money to stop smoking

A recent Globe article (Jan. 13) brought to my attention an often overlooked issue in our state. Missouri does not spend needed and available money to help people stop smoking.

The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement requires tobacco companies to annually pay states compensation for tobacco-related health care costs.

Our legislators should be directing that money to programs that reduce smoking statewide.

Of the millions of dollars collected in Missouri from tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement last year, less than one-tenth of 1 percent was spent on tobacco cessation and prevention programs.

It is hard for me to understand. There is no question that tobacco kills. Tobacco is responsible for 40 percent of cancer diagnoses in the country.

The fact is kids are still smoking, and each year, more people are dying from tobacco use. The means are available to break this addition to tobacco.

I am happy to see Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s budget will maintain funding for statewide cancer prevention programs, but more can and should be done to reduce all forms of tobacco use and save more Missouri lives. Increased funding for tobacco prevention programs would be an excellent start.

Ted Easley


Retired staff partner, American Cancer Society and ACS CAN volunteer