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

proposal would bring to a screeching halt the significant progress Ohio has made in reducing tobacco use and its devastating health and financial toll. The Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation has a strong track record of reducing tobacco use among kids, saving lives and saving money by reducing tobacco-caused health care costs. The Foundation's programs have helped reduce smoking by 47.4 percent among middle school students and by 38.6 percent among high school students since 2000. Adult smoking in the state has declined as well, with 22.4 percent of Ohio adults reporting that they smoked in 2007, down from 26.3 percent in 2000.

The evidence is also clear that this small investment in tobacco prevention is saving Ohio taxpayers money by reducing the $4.37 billion a year Ohioans pay in health care bills related to tobacco, including $1.4 billion in Medicaid payments alone. The average Ohio household pays $638 a year in taxes because of tobacco. It's critical that Ohio continue its dedication to tobacco prevention because the tobacco companies are spending $724 million a year marketing their deadly products in the state, amounting to 16 times what the state currently spends on prevention.

Despite Ohio's progress, tobacco remains the state's leading preventable cause of death, claiming 18,600 lives each year. Some 20,800 Ohio kids still become regular smokers each year, one-third of whom will die prematurely as a result. In addition, states that have cut funding for once successful tobacco prevention programs, including Florida, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, have seen their progress stop and even reverse. Ohio must not fall into that trap. Ohio's leaders must reverse course and take a stand for health by continuing to fund tobacco prevention to protect kids, save lives and save money.


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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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