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New Report Finds Missouri is Falling Behind in Protecting Kids From Tobacco
Date:2/11/2009

More than 1-in-5 Missouri kids smoke; 8,500 more become regular smokers each year

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than one-in-five Missouri kids smoke cigarettes and another 8,500 will become regular smokers each year, according to a newly-released report that calls on state leaders to protect Missouri's kids by investing in a statewide tobacco prevention program that keeps kids from smoking and helps current smokers quit.

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The report, titled Keeping the Promise: Protecting Missouri's Children from Tobacco, finds that Missouri continues to rank last or near last in the nation in its commitment to reducing the devastating toll of tobacco use, the No. 1 preventable cause of death in Missouri. The report was released today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids at Missouri's first-ever youth tobacco summit in Jefferson City, where 500 Missouri youth are gathered to draw attention to the problem of tobacco and learn skills to fight back.

In Missouri, 23.8 percent of kids smoke-above the national average of 20 percent - but the state currently spends only $1.7 million a year on tobacco prevention programs, which is just 2.3 percent of the amount recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's despite receiving about $150 million annually in payments from the cigarette companies under the 1998 tobacco lawsuit master settlement.

"This report sounds a clear warning about what happens when states refuse to fund tobacco prevention programs at recommended levels - more kids become addicted to tobacco, more lives are lost and taxpayers pay more to treat tobacco-caused disease," said Aaron Doeppers, Midwest Regional Director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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