Report finds Kentucky spends just 4.6 percent of 1998 settlement funds on tobacco prevention

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“Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later,” released Tuesday, finds that states continue to spend only a small percentage of the revenues from the 1998 settlement and tobacco taxes to reduce tobacco use.

According to the authors, no state currently funds tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the CDC-recommended level. Kentucky spends 4.6 percent of the $56.4 million recommended by the CDC. Meanwhile, tobacco companies spend $250 million each year to market their deadly and addictive products in Kentucky – more than 96 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

“Broken Promises” is released annually by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.

Below is a statement from Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Board Chair Charlie Ross, of Mayfield:

“Health care expenses and productivity losses tied to smoking total more than $19 per pack, yet the state gets just 60 cents per pack in tobacco taxes. It seems pretty straightforward that we need to focus more resources on preventing what’s behind these costs. We’ll not only reduce health care expenditures, we’ll save lives and draw more jobs to the Commonwealth from companies that need a healthy workforce to grow their business.”

And here is a statement from Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, about this report:

“Kentucky continues to make small strides in reducing smoking rates among both adults and youth, but we remain substantially higher than the national average and almost every other state. That’s particularly true in Appalachian counties, where the rate hovers around 30 percent – double the national average. The single most effective way to reduce these rates is to raise the price of cigarettes through a substantial state tax increase of at least $1 per pack.”

From Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

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