WASHINGTON — The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other advocacy groups last week released a report claiming that states are spending only "a miniscule portion" of their tobacco revenues to fight tobacco use. "The states have failed to reverse deep cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs that have undermined the nation’s efforts to reduce tobacco use," the advocacy groups stated.
According to the report, states will collect $25.7 billion in revenue over fiscal 2013 from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.8% of it, or $459.5 million, on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.
The report was issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
The report also claimed that states have failed to reverse deep cuts that reduced tobacco prevention funding by 36%, or $260.5 million, from FY 2008 to FY 2012. Funding this year is essentially flat with the $456.7 million budgeted last year, the groups reported. Only two states — Alaska and North Dakota — currently fund tobacco prevention programs at a level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which amounts to $3.7 billion nationwide. Only three other states — Delaware, Wyoming and Hawaii — provide even half of the CDC-recommended funding.
"As the nation implements healthcare reform, the states are missing a golden opportunity to reduce tobacco-related healthcare costs, which total $96 billion a year in the United States," the groups stated. "There is growing evidence that tobacco prevention programs save lives and save money by reducing healthcare costs. One recent study found that Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent during the first 10 years of its program."
For the complete 139-page report, click here.