Reduction in Tobacco Prevention Funds Would Increase State’s Costs for Smoking-Related Illnesses, Study Finds
California lawmakers' proposal to eliminate $61 million in tobacco prevention funding from the fiscal year 2002-2003 budget would make the state "one of the most disappointing" in the nation in antismoking efforts, according to a new study. Issued yesterday by the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the study ranked states based on their levels of tobacco prevention funding compared to the minimum amounts recommended by the CDC. If the reductions are included when the budget is finalized, California would fall from eighth to 20th in the nation in its funding levels, spending 44.5% of the CDC's recommended minimum of $165.1 million, the study found. In addition, the study found that California's plan to sell about $4.5 billion in future tobacco settlement payments to balance the budget would reduce the amount of funding available for future tobacco prevention efforts. The study also said that each dollar spent on tobacco prevention saves $3 or more in smoking-related health care expenses, which cost California $7.1 billion each year. "California has shown the nation how to protect our kids from tobacco and save lives," Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said. "Unless its leaders restore funding for tobacco prevention, California will pay a high price. More kids will become addicted to tobacco, more lives will be lost and taxpayers will pay more to treat tobacco-related disease," he added (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids release, 7/22). The study is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.