A report scheduled to be released March 8 by the U.S. Surgeon General’s office will urge increased state funding for anti-smoking programs.
The programs have been cut due to budgetary problems, even though they have been shown to be successful and lead to health care cost savings, according to the Associated Press.
“It is a hard-hitting report and it’s going to say, ‘Why haven’t we ended this epidemic? Why are we still feeding all these replacement smokers into a deadly industry?’” said Terry Pechacek, Director for Science in the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal government is fighting the tobacco epidemic on several fronts. In November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will spend about $600 million over five years on a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco.
In October, the FDA and the National Institutes of Health announced they will study the effect of new tobacco regulations on the health and behavior of smokers and potential smokers. The study will include 40,000 people ages 12 and up.
Meanwhile, state programs are on the chopping block, the article notes. In New York, where anti-smoking campaigns are credited with decreasing the smoking rate to historic lows of 15.5 percent for adults and 12.6 percent for high school students, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed cutting $5 million from the current $41.4 million for anti-smoking programs this year.In 2008-2009, anti-smoking funding in the state was $80.4 million.
Some states have used funding from a landmark $246 billion national court settlement from the tobacco industry, which was meant to be used for anti-smoking programs, for other purposes. Ohio used $230 million set aside for tobacco prevention on other budgetary priorities. New Hampshire has diverted tobacco settlement money for other budget needs. Iowa’s anti-smoking spending has been cut nearly in half.