A new report says that states have largely squandered the funding from the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement and have cut rather than increased funding for smoking prevention despite the billions received via the settlement.
The Associated Press reported Dec. 9 that the study (PDF) by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other groups found that states have cut smoking-prevention funding by 15 percent this year, and now only spend about 17 percent of the sum recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
New York made the biggest cut, slashing 31 percent of its smoking-prevention budget this year, a decline of $25 million. Thirty-three other states and the District of Columbia also cut antismoking spending, the report said.
States spend just 2.3 percent of the $25 billion they take in annual in tobacco taxes and settlement money on prevention, according to the study.
Government officials blamed the economy. “All the states are struggling to figure out how they're going to keep services whole in their states, and there are no easy places left to look,” said Debra Miller, director of health policy for the Council of State Governments.
Only one state, North Dakota, meets the CDC spending recommendation. Experts say that most states have never met the CDC goals but that spending has dropped off even more in recent years.