WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Indiana ranks 34th nationwide in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released today by a coalition of public health organizations. Indiana is spending $5.9 million this year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is just 8 percent of the $73.5 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use – the nation's No. 1 cause of preventable death – and help make the next generation tobacco-free. In Indiana, 12 percent of high school students and 20.6 percent of adults still smoke, and 4,100 kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco use claims 11,100 Indiana lives and costs the state $2.9 billion in health care bills annually.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Indiana will collect $579 million in revenue this year from the 1998 state tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1 percent of the money on tobacco prevention programs.
- Tobacco companies spend $284 million each year to market their deadly and addictive products in Indiana – 48 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year on marketing – more than $1 million every hour.
Today's report, titled "Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 18 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, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and Truth Initiative.
The report spotlights the need for stronger tobacco prevention efforts in Indiana. Last week, an unprecedented coalition of health care, business, not-for-profit and education leaders launched a campaign – called Raise It for Health – to increase the state cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack and restore annual funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to $35 million. This would allow public health officials to reach all 92 counties with prevention and cessation efforts.
A recent statewide poll showed that 70 percent of Indiana voters support a $1.50 per pack increase in the cigarette tax with some of the revenue used to fund tobacco prevention programs to keep children from using tobacco and help smokers quit.
"Indiana has one of the highest smoking rates in the country and must step up the fight to reduce tobacco's devastating toll on the state's kids, health and economy," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "That's why we are a proud member of the 'Raise It For Health' campaign to raise the tobacco tax and restore funding to the state's once-successful tobacco prevention program. By taking these steps, Indiana can create a healthier future for all Hoosiers and help make the next generation tobacco-free."
Nationwide, the U.S. has cut smoking rates to record lows – 15.1 percent among adults and 10.8 percent among high school students in 2015. If recent progress in reducing adult smoking continues, the U.S. could eliminate smoking by around 2035, according to a recent analysis in The New England Journal of Medicine.
By funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the CDC's recommended levels, the states can help achieve this goal. But today's report finds most states are falling far short:
- The states will collect $26.6 billion this year from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend less than 2 percent of it ($491.6 million) on tobacco prevention programs.
- The $491.6 million that the states have budgeted for tobacco prevention is a small fraction of the $3.3 billion the CDC recommends. Only two states – North Dakota and Alaska – fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels.
- States with well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention programs have seen remarkable progress. Florida, with one of the longest-running programs, reduced its high school smoking rate to 5.2 percent this year, one of the lowest rates ever reported by any state. One study found that during the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, the state of Washington saved more than $5 in health care costs for every $1 spent on the program.
Each year in the U.S., tobacco use kills more than 480,000 people and costs the nation at least $170 billion in health care expenses.
The report and state-specific information can be found at tfk.org/statereport.
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids