Kansas ranked 42nd nationally in funding programs to prevent children from smoking, a new health report said Tuesday.
“Kansas is one of the most disappointing states when it comes to funding programs to protect kids from tobacco,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Kansas spends $2 million annually on tobacco prevention programs, while tobacco companies are spending $106 million per year in the state on marketing.
The state’s 79-cent cigarette tax is 33rd nationally and below the $1.19 per pack average state tax. Higher cigarette prices have been shown to reduce the number of young smokers.
The report was released on the 10th anniversary of the lawsuit settlement between major tobacco companies and 46 states, including Kansas.
This year, Kansas will collect $180 million from the settlement and tobacco taxes, but spend only about 1 percent on tobacco prevention, the report said.
Meanwhile, 20.6 percent of Kansas high school students smoke, and 3,300 more children become regular smokers in the state each year, the report said.