Cigarette smoking in the U.S. has been reduced to record lows – 15.1% among adults in 2015 and 8% among high school students in 2016. However, tobacco use continues to kill more than 480,000 Americans and costs about $170 billion in health care expenses each year.
States will collect $27.5 billion in revenue from a 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes in FY18, but will spend less than 3% of that revenue on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released by a coalition of public health organizations, “Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later.”
The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use in order to accelerate progress and address large disparities in smokers and those who suffer from tobacco-related diseases. Not a single state currently funds tobacco prevention programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the report finds. Only two states, California and Alaska, provide more than 90 percent of the recommended funding, 29 states and the District of Columbia are spending less than 20% of what the CDC recommends, while Connecticut and West Virginia allocated no state funds for prevention programs. Research shows that the more states spend on comprehensive tobacco control programs, the greater the reductions in smoking, according to the CDC.
“A commitment from our elected leaders to invest more on tobacco prevention, combined with tough smoking policies, will keep up the momentum until we reach our goal of becoming a nation that is 100 percent tobacco-free,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association and Research!America board member in a press release.
The report was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative. Click here for the full report.