National Report: Missouri Ranks 46th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Missouri ranks 46th 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.

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Missouri has budgeted $61,785 this year for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 0.1 percent of the $73.2 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Missouri include:

  • Missouri this year will collect $242 million in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend almost none of it on tobacco prevention programs.
  • The tobacco companies spend $301.8 million a year to market their products in Missouri. This is 4,884 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states' funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled "Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 14 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

Missouri is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to fighting tobacco use.  The state provides almost no funding for tobacco prevention programs; has the nation's lowest cigarette tax at just 17 cents per pack compared to the national average of $1.48 per pack; and lacks a statewide smoke-free workplace law.  In November, Missouri voters narrowly defeated a ballot initiative (Prop B) to raise the state cigarette tax by 73 cents per pack and dedicate some of the revenue to tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

"The defeat of Prop B leaves Missouri as one of the most disappointing states when it comes to protecting kids from tobacco," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  "We urge Missouri leaders to raise the tobacco tax and increase funding for tobacco prevention.  Unless they do so, Missouri will continue to pay a high price with more kids smoking, more lives lost to tobacco and higher tobacco-related health care costs."

In Missouri, 18.1 percent of high school students smoke, and 8,000 more kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco annually claims 9,500 lives and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills.

Nationally, the report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Key national findings include:

  • The states this year will collect $25.7 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.8 percent of it – $459.5 million – on tobacco prevention programs. This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
  • States are falling woefully short of the CDC's recommended funding levels for tobacco prevention programs.  Altogether, the states have budgeted just 12.4 percent of the $3.7 billion the CDC recommends.
  • Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level.

As the nation implements health care reform, the report warns that states are missing a golden opportunity to reduce tobacco-related health care costs, which total $96 billion a year in the U.S.  One study found that during the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent on the program.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people each year.  Nationally, 19 percent of adults and 18.1 percent of high school students smoke.

More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



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