notobacco

Indiana Ranks 28th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

In State News on November 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

Indiana ranks 28th 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.

Indiana currently spends $9.2 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 11.7 percent of the $78.8 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Indiana include:

  • Indiana in the past three years has cut funding for its tobacco prevention program by 43 percent (from $16.2 million to $9.2 million), and funding is now at the lowest level since the program was launched 10 years ago
  • Indiana this year will collect $599 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.5 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.
  • The tobacco companies spend $426.2 million a year to market their products in Indiana. This is 46 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 12 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program has contributed to significant declines in tobacco use. Between 2000 and 2008, smoking declined by 42 percent among Indiana high school students. However, that progress is at risk because of the budget cuts. Indiana is also falling short in implementing other proven measures to reduce tobacco use. The state lacks a statewide smoke-free law that applies to all workplaces, restaurants and bars, and the state cigarette tax of 99.5 cents per pack ranks 31st in the nation and is below the national average of $1.45 per pack.

“Indiana’s progress against tobacco is at risk unless state leaders step up the fight by increasing funding for tobacco prevention and implementing other proven measures, including a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Despite the state’s progress, tobacco still takes a huge toll in health, lives and health care dollars in Indiana. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment for Indiana that saves lives and saves money by reducing health care costs.”

In Indiana, 23.5 percent of high school students smoke, and 9,900 more kids become regular smokers every year. Each year, tobacco claims 9,700 lives and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills.

Nationally, the report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Altogether, the states have cut funding for these programs to the lowest level since 1999, when they first started receiving tobacco settlement payments. Key national findings of the report include:

  • The states this year will collect $25.3 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just two percent of it – $517.9 million – on tobacco prevention programs.
  • States have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by nine percent ($51.4 million) in the past year and by 28 percent ($199.3 million) in the past three years.
  • Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level.

The report warns that the nation’s progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The United States has significantly reduced smoking among both youth and adults, but 20.6 percent of adults and 19.5 percent of high school students still smoke.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.

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

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