The states must restore funding for tobacco prevention programs that have been slashed by 36 percent (about $260 million) since 2008. The states this year are collecting a record $25.7 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but are spending less than two percent of it ( $459.5 million) on these life-saving programs, according to a report issued in November by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health organizations. The states are providing just 12.4 percent of the funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is shameful and must improve.
States must also pick up the pace in enacting tobacco tax increases and smoke-free laws. State progress has slowed on these measures as the tobacco industry and its allies have increased their opposition, even seeking to roll them back. As revealed this week by a report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, tobacco companies spend huge sums on political contributions to try to get their way, contributing $3.5 million to state-level candidates and $3 million to party committees during the 2011-2012 election cycle.
Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans and costs the nation $96 billion in health care bills each year. The new study is a timely reminder that tobacco's toll is entirely preventable if elected leaders fully implement tobacco prevention measures that are proven to work.
The study abstract can be found at: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300948SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids