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States Slash Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs
Date:12/9/2009

Report finds drop comes despite receiving record amounts of money for such efforts

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- States cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent in the past year, even though they're receiving record amounts of money from tobacco taxes and from the 1998 state tobacco settlement, says a report released Wednesday.

"Fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs stop addiction before it starts, and improve the health of our nation's communities. States must do better at funding programs that help reduce tobacco use and protect the health of children, 3,500 of whom try their first cigarette every day," John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in a news release.

"Despite their current budget challenges, the states lack excuses for failing to do more. They are collecting record amounts of tobacco money, more of which should be used to fight the tobacco problem," Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in the release. "And there is overwhelming evidence that tobacco prevention programs not only reduce smoking and save lives, they also save money by reducing tobacco-related health-care costs. Those states that make short-sighted decisions to cut tobacco prevention will pay a steep price in lives and dollars."

The American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are the other groups involved in the release of the report, "A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later."

Among the findings:

  • In the past year, states have cut funding for tobacco prevention by $103.4 million (15.4 percent). Including cuts approved last week, New York made the largest cut -- $25.2 million (31 percent) -- even though the state has a successful program that's reduced smoking to well below the na
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