Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 15 Years Later
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Posted by: Walter "Snip" Young
A report released on December 9, 2013 summarized state use of tobacco settlement funds. The report from a coalition of national health organizations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the Americans for Non-Smokers Rights concluded, among other findings, the following:
In FY 2014, the states are spending less that two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
Over the past 15 years, the states have spent just 2.3 percent of their total tobacco-generated revenue on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
States are falling far short of recommended funding levels for tobacco prevention programs set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (It would take less than 15 percent of total state tobacco revenues to fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended amounts in every state.)
The amount states are spending on tobacco prevention programs pales in comparison to the huge sums tobacco companies spend to market their deadly and addictive products. The major cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year - one million dollars each hour - on marketing.
These reductions in tobacco prevention spending mean more kids starting to smoke, fewer smokers quitting, and more disease, death, and health care costs from tobacco use.
Tobacco prevention and cessation programs work to reduce smoking, save lives and save money. Florida, which has a well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention program, reduced its high school smoking rate to just 8.6 percent in 2013. Between 2000 and 2009, Washington state saved more than $5 in health care costs for every $1 spent on its tobacco prevention and cessation program by reducing hospitalizations for heart disease, strokes, respiratory diseases and cancer caused by tobacco use.
Recommended actions include the following:
The states must implement three proven strategies to reduce tobacco use: fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at CDC - recommended levels, increase taxes and enact smoke-free workplace laws.
At the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration must fully and effectively exercise the authority it received under a 2009 law to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products.