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Gov. Strickland, Legislative Leaders Break Promise to Protect Ohio's Kids from Tobacco
Date:4/2/2008

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

Governor Ted Strickland and legislative leaders have broken Ohio's promise to protect its kids from tobacco by proposing today to raid funds from the state's highly successful tobacco prevention program, run by the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation. Ohio will pay a high price if this raid is carried out. More kids will become addicted to tobacco, more lives will be lost and Ohio taxpayers will foot the bill for higher tobacco-caused health care costs.

It is penny-wise and pound-foolish to cut tobacco prevention to pay for other programs, no matter how worthwhile they may be. We urge Governor Strickland and legislative leaders to seek other sources of funding for the job stimulus package they unveiled today and to continue protecting the health of Ohio's children by investing in tobacco prevention. Surely Governor Strickland does not want his legacy to be that he left Ohio's kids at the mercy of the tobacco industry, which spends more than $700 million a year to market its deadly and addictive products in Ohio, much of it aimed at kids.

This latest proposal would shred whatever is left of the promise Ohio made to use some of its tobacco settlement funds for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Ohio initially was a leader in using this tobacco money to fight the tobacco problem. But that commitment has dwindled to almost nothing. First, state leaders diverted annual settlement funds from the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation. Then last year, Governor Strickland securitized (sold to investors) future state tobacco settlement payments for a smaller lump-sum payment, which benefited large financial institutions at the expense of Ohio's kids and taxpayers. Now, the Governor and legislative leaders want to raid what's left of the Foundation's funds.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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