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Fewer dollars for smoking prevention

December 11, 2009 |  4:26 pm
Even as states pull in billions of dollars in tobacco settlement money – part of which is typically used to fund anti-smoking programs – they're slashing the amount they spend on such programs by 15%.

Altogether, states will spend $567.5 million on anti-smoking efforts in the 2010 fiscal year, says a report released by five groups including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Cancer Action Network.  That’s less than a fifth of the nearly $3.7 billion recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And although $3.7 billion might sound like a lot, the states will receive more than $25 billion in tobacco funds.

Meanwhile, the CDC says the smoking rate hasn't changed much in the last few years -- in 2008, 20.8% of adults were smokers, slightly higher than 2007's 19.7%. There may be a connection between the slowing of the smoking decline and the drop in prevention funding. Consider last year's report on cancer incidences and death rates, a collaboration spearheaded by the National Cancer Institute, which linked California's smoking controls and its declining smoking rate.

Here’s a multimedia tutorial about smoking and its effects, thanks to the National Institutes of Health. We don't want all this progress to go up in smoke now, do we?

-- Amina Khan
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