HARRISBURG, Pa.—Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his budget address to the Pennsylvania state legislature today. The budget maintains funding for the state tobacco control programs, which help people who smoke quit and prevent young people from starting. It also includes level funding for cancer screening at approximately $2.5 million.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Pennsylvania Government Relations Director Emma Watson thanked Governor Wolf for the proposed funding.
“Maintaining funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs has been a tried-and-true tool for reducing tobacco use in our country for decades,” said Watson. “And right now, it is particularly crucial to keep the Pennsylvania programs strong—as tobacco companies are aggressively targeting our state’s youth with e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.”
The toll of tobacco in Pennsylvania:
• 27.9% of cancer deaths in Pennsylvania are smoking-related
• Over 1.7 million Pennsylvanians still smoke
• If nothing is done to reduce smoking rates, it’s estimated that 244,000 Pa. youth will ultimately die prematurely from smoking
• The tobacco industry spends $365.5 million per year marketing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco alone in Pennsylvania
Evidence-based, statewide tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained, and accountable have been shown to reduce tobacco use rates, as well as tobacco-related diseases and deaths. Research shows that the more states spend on comprehensive tobacco control programs, the greater the reductions in tobacco use. The longer states invest in such programs, the greater and quicker the impact.
“Funding for Pennsylvania’s tobacco control programs has been cut numerous times—lowering tobacco prevention and cessation funds to a fraction of their original level,” continued Watson. “We cannot afford to return to those days, and particularly now, as we’re battling tobacco companies’ latest efforts to hook our state’s kids with flavored tobacco products.
“ACS CAN looks forward to working with the state legislature and Governor Wolf to protect these programs and to support other measures to save the lives and protect the health of Pennsylvanians,” concluded Watson.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.