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HHS Prevention and Wellness Initiative, Including Tobacco Control, Is Smart Investment in America's Health
Date:9/17/2009

-related health care costs.

In California, adult smoking rates were reduced by 35 percent after implementation of its pioneering Tobacco Control Program, and a recent study found that the state's program saved $86 billion in health care costs between 1989 and 2004. Maine has seen smoking rates decline by 71 percent for middle schools students and 64 percent for high school students since 1997, preventing more than 26,000 young people from smoking and saving the state $416 million in future health care costs. New York City, which has one of the nation's most comprehensive efforts to reduce tobacco use, reduced adult smoking by 26 percent between 2002 and 2008, resulting in 350,000 fewer smokers.

Preventing disease is a critical component of reforming the nation's health care system. The new HHS initiative is an important down payment on prevention and sends a powerful message that preventing disease should be valued as much as treating it. Now it is critical that health care reform build on this initiative by including funding for prevention and coverage of smoking cessation services.

Tobacco use, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, is an excellent example of the opportunities presented by prevention. Each year, tobacco use is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths and nearly $100 billion in health care costs in the U.S. Tobacco use contributes to many costly and debilitating chronic diseases, causing 21 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths, 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 90 percent of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

We applaud HHS Secretary Sebelius and CDC Director Thomas Frieden for their leadership in announcing this important prevention initiative today. We also applaud Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) for championing the prevention and wellness
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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