For ten years beginning in 2008, Virginia will receive more than $7 million per year in additional tobacco settlement payments on top of what the state already receives. By more than a two-to-one margin (65 percent to 29 percent) voters favor using all of these additional tobacco settlement payments to fund tobacco prevention programs.
Even after poll respondents were reminded of the state's budget problems, more than two-thirds (68 percent) agreed with the need to use one-third of Virginia's tobacco settlement and tobacco tax revenues to fund tobacco prevention at the CDC recommended level.
"This poll shows us that the vast majority of Virginians support keeping the promise of the tobacco settlement by funding tobacco programs that prevent kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit," said Keenan Caldwell, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society. "If Virginia fails to keep this promise, the consequences will be dire -- more kids will start to smoke, more lives will be lost and taxpayers will foot the bill for higher tobacco-caused health care costs."
Despite progress made in reducing smoking, tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death in Virginia, claiming at least 10,200 lives each year and costing the state more than $2.08 billion annually in health care bills, including $401 million in Medicaid payments alone. Smoking-caused government expenditures amount to a hidden tax of $576 per Virginia household. Currently, 21 percent of Virginia high school students smoke, and 10,800 additional kids become regular smokers every year.
|SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids|
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