State Legislature Fails to Adequately Fund Vital Tobacco Prevention Programs, Igniting Concern Among Public Health Advocates

The Toll of Tobacco on Kentucky Has Gone on for Too Long and is Too Great to Ignore

March 28, 2024

FRANKFORT, KY – The legislature’s final version of the state’s two-year operating budget drastically underfunds programs that help prevent kids from using tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and help those already addicted to quit. These programs are critical to reducing tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable death nationwide and responsible for 37.2% of cancer deaths in Kentucky. 

The following statement can be attributed to Doug Hogan, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Kentucky government relations director: 

“American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is outraged that Kentucky state lawmakers ignored the urgent need for a significant investment in tobacco prevention and programs to help people quit. Regrettably, state lawmakers prioritized Big Tobacco's interests over the health and well-being of their constituents. 

“ACS CAN led a broad coalition of 20 organizations of medical experts, business leaders, and patient groups in advocating for an investment of $10 million annually in fact-based programs to reduce tobacco use, including the use of e-cigarettes. 

“Lawmakers say they want to strengthen Kentucky’s workforce, but smoking costs the state an estimated $6.3 billion in lost productivity costs annually. For every $1 spent on comprehensive tobacco control programs, states receive up to $55 in savings from averted tobacco-related health care costs. Increasing tobacco prevention funding by $10 million annually would prevent 1500 Kentucky kids from becoming adults addicted to smoking, prevent 500 kids from dying prematurely from smoking, and save at least $24 million in future health care costs.  

“We know that fact-based programs, funded at adequate levels to reach youth and adults, reduce tobacco use.  As Big Tobacco works hard to addict future generations with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the need for more funding for tobacco prevention programs has never been greater.”

The state tobacco control program had a budget of $2.9 million in state funding for FY 24, and the budget just passed by the legislature reduced state funding for FY 25 to $1,869,300 and $2 million for FY 26. 




About ACS CAN  
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. We engage our volunteers across the country to make their voices heard by policymakers at every level of government. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to make cancer a top priority for policymakers in cities, states and our nation’s capital. Join the fight by visiting

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Michelle Zimmerman
Associate Director, Regional Media Advocacy