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Wisconsin Tobacco Tax Increase Is Positive Step for Health, but Budget Disappoints by Cutting Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs
Date:6/30/2009

WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO)

Wisconsin leaders have taken a positive step to protect the state's kids and taxpayers from the devastating toll of tobacco by increasing the state cigarette tax by 75 cents. However, it is deeply disappointing that despite this increase in tobacco-related revenue, state leaders approved a budget that cuts funding by more than half for critical tobacco prevention and cessation programs. This devastating cut will reduce the number of people who quit as a result of the cigarette tax increase and undermine successful programs already in place to protect kids and help smokers quit.

The budget cut will reduce the amount Wisconsin spends a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs to just $6.85 million a year. This is barely one-tenth of the $64.3 million that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Wisconsin spend each year on such programs. It is also just a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars the state collects each year from tobacco taxes and the 1998 state tobacco settlement.

It is penny-wise and pound-foolish to shortchange tobacco prevention programs. These programs are proven to reduce smoking among both youth and adults, save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs, which total more than $2 billion a year in Wisconsin. An August 2008 scientific study found that California's tobacco prevention program saved $86 billion in health care costs in its first 15 years, which is nearly 50 times what the state spent on the program. Few government programs provide such a tremendous return on investment.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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