US states are not spending enough of the money generated by taxes of tobacco sales or from settlements with Big Tobacco on youth smoking prevention programs, according to public health experts.
Less than 2% of the $26.6 billion collected by states from the tobacco industry settlement or taxes on tobacco products this year will be spent on programs to prevent kids from smoking or help smokers kick the habit, according to an annual report from a coalition of health organizations.
The $491.6 million allocated by all states for tobacco prevention programs in the current budget year represents just a small fraction of the $3.3 billion recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Just two states — North Dakota and Alaska — currently fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels. With the exception of Oklahoma, no other state funded such programs at even half the recommended level, according to the joint report issued by theCampaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.