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States Use Only Fraction of Tobacco Revenues to Fight Smoking, Study Finds
Date:5/25/2012

THURSDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Only a small percentage of the billions of dollars states take in from tobacco revenues goes to anti-smoking efforts, a new federal report finds.

Under the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, tobacco companies agreed to reimburse states for Medicaid costs related to tobacco use. According to background information in the new study, the intent of the agreement was to use the money to also help prevent youth smoking, although there was no stipulation that this must happen.

However, the new study finds that between 1998 and 2010, states collected a combined total of almost $244 billion in tobacco industry settlement payments and cigarette excise taxes, but have invested only about $8 billion in effective state anti-smoking, tobacco control programs.

The remainder of the money has been used to pay general expenses or to fund programs other than tobacco control, according to research led by John Francis of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If states had followed the CDC's published guidelines on using the funds, they would have invested more than $29 billion in tobacco control programs during that time, the researchers said.

The researchers noted that although total state and federal investment in state tobacco control efforts did rise between 1998 and 2002, state investments in tobacco control have actually fallen steadily every year since.

One expert said the findings were disheartening. "Not investing the money in tobacco control programs is shortsighted and demonstrates a lack of knowledge in the return on investment for tobacco control programs," said Dan Jacobsen of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, NY.

"If states funded tobacco control programs at the CDC recommended level, I feel the results would be dramatic a
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