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Tobacco Prevention Programs Needed

States Cutting Funding for Tobacco Prevention

WASHINGTON, DC -- August 2, 2002 -- States are cutting already underfunded tobacco prevention programs by $102.3 million or 13.3 percent in the 2003 fiscal year, according to a study issued recently by the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. About $8.9 billion will go to states this year as part of a 25-year, $246 billion tobacco settlement. However, states are squandering their tobacco settlements in trying to balance short-term budget deficits, according to the anti-smoking groups.

Arizona has slashed tobacco prevention funding in half, and California and Massachusetts are in the process of also enacting large cuts. In all, a total of fifteen states are cutting their tobacco prevention programs. Although eighteen states have increased funding for tobacco prevention, the increases are much smaller than the cuts that other states have made.

Only four states -- Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi and Maryland -- currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the minimum levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study reports. Twelve states have committed at least 50 percent of the CDC minimum.

The study presents evidence that comprehensive tobacco prevention programs work to reduce smoking, save lives and save money for taxpayers. "Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is one of the smartest and most fiscally responsible investments that states can make," the report concludes.

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