|WASHINGTON DC -- Massachusetts ranks 37th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations. |
Massachusetts currently spends $4.5 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 5 percent of the $90 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Other key findings for Massachusetts include:
Massachusetts currently spends $4.5 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 5 percent of the $90 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Massachusetts once had one of the nation's best-funded and most successful tobacco prevention programs, but has drastically cut funding in recent years. To continue reducing tobacco use, health advocates are calling on Massachusetts leaders to raise and equalize tobacco tax rates on all tobacco products, not just cigarettes, and use some of the revenue to increase funding for tobacco prevention.
"Massachusetts has made tremendous progress in the fight against tobacco, but these gains could stop and even reverse unless state leaders increase funding for tobacco prevention programs," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "To further reduce youth smoking and help more smokers quit, Massachusetts should raise the tobacco tax and increase funding for tobacco prevention. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."
In Massachusetts, 16 percent of high school students smoke, and 7,200 more kids become regular smokers every year. Each year, tobacco claims 9,000 lives and costs the state $3.5 billion in health care bills.
Nationally, the report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Altogether, the states have cut funding for these programs to the lowest level since 1999, when they first started receiving tobacco settlement payments. Key national findings of the report include:
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.
More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.
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