Frankfort, KY – This Wednesday, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) recognizes the 25th anniversary of Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action, formerly known as Kick Butts Day, by calling on Kentucky lawmakers to reduce the toll of tobacco in the Commonwealth. Despite having the highest rate of smoking-related cancer deaths in the country, Kentucky continues to significantly underfund the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
The Kentucky legislature is in the midst of crafting a biannual budget and despite the growing dangers of tobacco in Kentucky, the House of Representatives passed a budget that substantially reduced funding for these critical programs. Last year, $3.8 million in funding was allocated for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, but the House substantially reduced funding to only $2 million in their budget.
ACS CAN is participating in Take Down Tobacco Day by asking the Kentucky General Assembly to protect Kentuckians from the dangers of tobacco and prioritize increasing funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to $10 million. These programs give Kentuckians who are ready to quit using tobacco the resources they need and also educate youth on the dangers of tobacco use. Increased funding would allow these programs to reach more Kentuckians.
“The Kentucky legislature needs to use every tool they have to protect our youth and all Kentuckians from this growing epidemic of tobacco use,” said Kristy Young, Kentucky government relations director, ACS CAN. “Properly funding these programs can reduce tobacco use rates, and ultimately combat tobacco-related illness and death. Increasing funding for these programs to $10 million would keep an estimated 2,600 fewer Kentucky kids from growing up to become addicted adult smokers.”
Kentucky has the second highest adult smoking rate in the country, and with the rise of youth tobacco use, our youth are at increased risk of the dangerous consequences related to tobacco use. As Big Tobacco continues to find new ways to hook Kentuckians on their addictive products, it is vitally important that the state properly fund it's tobacco prevention and cessation programs to give Kentuckians the resources they need to live tobacco-free lives.
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.