WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Oregon ranks 20th 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.
Oregon currently spends $7.5 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 17.5 percent of the $43 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Oregon include:
- Oregon this year will collect $332 million in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 2.3 percent of it – all from tobacco tax revenues – on tobacco prevention programs. This means Oregon is spending just two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
- The tobacco companies spend $99.6 million a year to market their products in Oregon. This is 13 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.
While Oregon currently falls short in funding tobacco prevention programs, the state will soon have a second chance keep the promise of the tobacco settlement and invest its tobacco settlement funds in tobacco prevention and other health care initiatives.
Since 2003, Oregon has used its tobacco settlement funds to pay off bonds used to balance the 2001-2003 budget. Those bonds will be paid off in 2014, so lawmakers will have to decide next year what to do with future settlement payments of about $120 million per biennium. A coalition of leading public health and health care organizations has called for the funds to be invested in health initiatives, including 10 percent, or $12 million, in Oregon's tobacco prevention efforts.
"Oregon has a rare second chance to do the right thing, and state leaders should seize it by investing tobacco settlement funds in tobacco prevention and other initiatives to improve health," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Tobacco prevention is a smart investment for Oregon that will keep kids from smoking, save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."
In Oregon, 14.9 percent of high school students smoke, and 4,200 more kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco annually claims 4,900 lives and costs the state $1.1 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 of the report 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