States Allocate Inadequate Funds for Tobacco Cessation Programs, Report Says
Only three states -- Delaware, Maine and Mississippi -- have allocated and spent funds for anti-smoking programs at the minimum levels recommended by CDC, and states have allocated only a combined $538 million for such programs in fiscal year 2005, about one-third of the $1.6 billion recommended by the agency, according to a report released on Thursday by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. States likely will receive a combined $7.1 billion this year from legal settlements with the tobacco industry, according to the report.
However, some states -- such as Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Tennessee -- and the District of Columbia have allocated no significant funds for anti-tobacco programs, the report said (Zuckerbrod, AP/Long Island Newsday, 12/2). Tobacco companies spend about 23 times as much on promotional campaigns as states spend on anti-tobacco programs, and some companies spend as much as $34 million daily, more than 46 individual states and Washington, D.C., spend annually, according to the report. States have reduced funds for anti-smoking programs by about 28% since 2001, the report said. CTFK CEO William Corr said, "The states lack excuses for their failure to do more because they have more tobacco revenue than ever to do the job and more evidence than ever that tobacco-prevention programs work to reduce smoking" (Blackwell, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/3).
CTFK President Matthew Myers said, "The states are receiving more and more revenue related to tobacco but doing far too little to fund programs to reduce tobacco use, particularly among children. They're using the money to fill short-term budget shortfalls, build roads and every other conceivable political purpose" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 12/2).
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization on Wednesday announced that the required 40 nations have ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and that under U.N. rules, the treaty will take effect in 90 days, the Christian Science Monitor reports (Scherer, Christian Science Monitor, 12/2). The treaty would ban the advertisement and promotion of tobacco products. Under the treaty, tobacco companies would have to disclose ingredients in cigarettes, print advisory labels that cover no less than 30% of cigarette packages and no longer use terms such as "ultra light" or "light." The treaty also would impose high taxes on tobacco products (California Healthline, 5/12).
The United States has signed the treaty but has not ratified the agreement, which requires Senate approval. The Bush administration has not submitted the treaty to the Senate for consideration (Christian Science Monitor, 12/2). The decision to sign the treaty does not require the United States to revise national tobacco policies, although the federal government cannot seek to undermine the agreement. Ratification of the treaty likely would not significantly revise U.S. tobacco policies unless Congress passes the legislation recommended or required by the agreement (California Healthline, 5/12).
Trent Duffy, a White House spokesperson, said that Bush will submit the treaty to the Senate for consideration at the appropriate time. "The administration signed on to the treaty, and the president believes we do need to take measures to stop young people from smoking," Duffy said. U.S. officials only can observe future implementation meetings and protocols related to the treaty until the Senate ratifies the agreement (Christian Science Monitor, 12/2). NPR's "All Things Considered" on Wednesday reported on the treaty (Elliott, "All Things Considered," NPR, 12/1). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.