Alaska and North Dakota are the only states that will meet 2014 recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for spending on programs to prevent youth from starting to smoke, and helping current smokers quit, according to a new report by advocacy groups.
Most states will fail to meet the CDC guidelines despite billions of dollars received from tobacco taxes and settlements with tobacco manufacturers more than a decade ago, The New York Times reports.
The groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Lung Association, estimate that states will earn $25 billion in tobacco-related revenue next year, including $7 billion from settlements between tobacco companies and states. Of that total, states are expected to spend just $481 million on tobacco prevention programs. The CDC has recommended states spend $3.7 billion.
In 2002, states spent a total of $750 million on tobacco prevention efforts, the article notes.
States receiving tobacco company money have discretion about how to spend it, and many have chosen to use the funds for unrelated public policy initiatives. In 2014, more than 40 states and the District of Columbia will not spend even half of the amount recommended by the CDC for smoking cessation and prevention programs.
“It is public health malpractice that the states are spending so little on tobacco prevention programs despite having so much evidence that these programs work to save lives and save money,” Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a news release. “To win the fight against tobacco, elected officials at all levels must step up efforts to implement proven solutions, including well-funded tobacco prevention programs.”