Anti-Smoking Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Preserve Funding for a Life-saving Tobacco Program

Threat of a Budget Veto Puts $1 Million of Critical Funding in Jeopardy

May 23, 2018

MONTPELIER – May 23, 2018 – Vermont has made great headway in tackling the problem of tobacco, but it is far from solved. Tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death nationwide.  As the budget debate simmers in Montpelier this week, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont is calling on lawmakers and Governor Scott to make tobacco cessation and prevention a priority.

The numbers tell a powerful story.

  • Smoking will kill 1,000 Vermonters this year.
  • Vermont spends $348 million on tobacco-related health care costs every year. 
  • 1 in 4 Vermont kids report using e-cigarettes.

The Coalition supports the Vermont Senate’s prudent decision to boost tobacco prevention funding by $2 million, and the Conference Committee’s ultimate compromise of $1 million for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. This life-saving money is in jeopardy if the Governor vetoes the budget.

Research shows investing in prevention will save lives and money from tobacco-related health care costs. An independent evaluation shows that with the $72 million the state invested in tobacco control between 2001-2014, it resulted in an estimated $1.43 billion savings in overall smoking-related health care costs (including $586 million in Medicaid costs). Vermont lawmakers would be hard-pressed to find a bigger bang for the state’s buck.

The additional $1 million is coming from a one-time tobacco settlement payment of $28 million to Vermont. The state currently funds its tobacco control program at less than half of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Vermont can do better and this increase can help us get there.

As Big Tobacco continues to make its products more deadly and addicting and continues to target our youth as its newest lifetime customers, Vermont must continue its investment in the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board. Approximately 95 percent of adults who smoke started smoking before the age of 21 and research indicates 80 percent of adult smokers want to quit.

The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont urges lawmakers and Governor Scott to stand up for the health of Vermonters. Shield our kids from a lifetime of addiction and help adults addicted to these products quit smoking. Protect the $1 million increase for the state’s tobacco control program. It’s the least we can do to help smokers quit and prevent children from starting.


The purpose of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont is to promote and assist in the implementation of policies and programs at the state, local, and national levels to reduce tobacco use and its impact on the health and economic well being of Vermonters. For more information, visit

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Albany, NY