Anti-smoking efforts nationwide remain woefully underfunded as states squander most of their tobacco tax revenue, a major report from a coalition of public health groups shows.
For fiscal 2013, states will receive nearly $26 billion through a combination of cigarette taxes and revenue from their landmark 1998 legal settlement with U.S. tobacco companies. Only $459 million will go to smoking prevention campaigns and other initiatives to help addicts quit, with some states — such as New Jersey, Ohio, New Hampshire and North Carolina — spending nothing on the efforts, according to the joint study by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and other organizations.
“The paltry amount of money that states spend on tobacco prevention and cessation programs is extremely disappointing,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “If the funds were used as intended to discourage children from smoking and help current smokers quit, we would see the real impact of tobacco use prevention on health care costs. These programs work and it’s time for states to put more skin in the game.”