WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- North Dakota ranks 1st in the country for the third year in a row in funding programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations. North Dakota is the only state that currently funds tobacco prevention programs at the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to its top ranking, North Dakota has funded its tobacco prevention program at or near the CDC-recommended level since Fiscal Year 2010 as a result of a voter-approved ballot measure requiring such funding. From 2009 to 2015, smoking among North Dakota's high school students fell by nearly half, from 22.4 percent to 11.7 percent.
"North Dakota remains a model for the rest of the nation when it comes to funding programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. We urge North Dakota to continue this smart investment that is saving lives and health care dollars," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "The tobacco companies are as relentless as ever in marketing their lethal products, so it is critical that states follow North Dakota's lead in doing what we know works to win the fight against tobacco."
North Dakota must continue its tobacco prevention efforts because tobacco companies spend $34.1 million to market their deadly and addictive products in the state each year. That means tobacco companies spend $3 to promote tobacco use for every $1 North Dakota spends to prevent it.
The report, titled "Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 17 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 assesses whether the states have kept their promise to use a significant portion of their settlement funds – estimated to total $246 billion over the first 25 years – to fight tobacco use. The states also collect billions of dollars more each year from tobacco taxes.
Nationally, the report finds that:
- Most states fail to sufficiently fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The states will collect $25.8 billion this year from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend less than two percent of it ($468 million) on tobacco prevention programs.
- The $468 million the states have budgeted for tobacco prevention is a small fraction of the $3.3 billion the CDC recommends. Only one state – North Dakota – is funding tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels.
- As demonstrated by North Dakota, states with well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention programs continue to deliver impressive results. Florida, with one of the longest-running programs, reduced its high school smoking rate to just 6.9 percent this year, one of the lowest rates ever reported by any state and a 75 percent decline since 1998.
Insufficient prevention funding makes it difficult for states to combat the pervasive marketing of Big Tobacco. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.6 billion a year – more than one million dollars every hour – to market their products, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Industry tactics that entice kids include:
- Widespread advertising, prime product placement and price discounts in stores, which make tobacco products appealing and affordable to kids.
- Ads in magazines with large youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone.
- Candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products such as small cigars and electronic cigarettes. E-cigarette companies have drastically ramped up their marketing efforts in recent years as well. Recent data show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, and that high school boys now smoke cigars at about the same rate as cigarettes.
Tobacco use kills more than 480,000 Americans and costs the nation about $170 billion in health care expenses each year.
The full report and state-specific information can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids