Archive for Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kansas ranks 39th in funding tobacco prevention programs

State ranks 39th in nation for prevention

December 22, 2009

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Kansas ranks 39th in the nation when it comes to funding tobacco prevention programs.

LESS SPENDING

A report called “Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later” finds that states are collecting record amounts of revenue from the tobacco industry, but are spending less of it on tobacco prevention.

Among the key findings:

• States this year will collect $25.1 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 2.3 percent of it — $567.5 million — on tobacco prevention programs.

• In the past year, states have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent, or $103.4 million.

• Only one state, North Dakota, currently funds a tobacco prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended level. It is spending $9.4 million.

• 40 states are spending less than half the CDC-recommended amount. Of these, 31 states, including Kansas, are providing less than a quarter of the recommended funding.

“States like Kansas are not investing in comprehensive tobacco prevention and smoking cessation programs. We know that when states do invest in these programs lives are saved. Kids don’t start smoking and adults quit,” said Paul G. Billings, vice president of National Policy and Advocacy of the American Lung Association.

This year, Kansas will collect $170 million from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend $2.3 million or just 1.3 percent of it on tobacco prevention. The CDC recommends spending $32 million.

Meanwhile, tobacco companies spend $104 million a year to market their products in Kansas — 46 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The report “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In Kansas, 20 percent of Kansas high school students smoke, and 2,900 more children become regular smokers every year, according to the report.

Each year, tobacco claims 3,800 lives and costs the state $927 million in health care bills.

“For states not to invest, it’s sort of penny wise, pound foolish because it is much cheaper to prevent tobacco-caused disease than it is for the state to treat,” Billings said.

In Douglas County, about 18 percent of students in sixth through 12th grades smoke, according to a 2005 Youth Tobacco Survey — the most recent data available.

The Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project, commonly known as CHIP, strives to reduce the smoking rate by providing educational programs. In the past year, state funding for CHIP's Tobacco Use Prevention Program dropped 17 percent to $114,700.

Janelle Martin, executive director of CHIP, said smoking is a problem among youths, and experimentation typically begins between ages 11 and 12, but she has seen children as young as 9 pick up the habit.

CHIP offers workshops for student groups at Lawrence High School, Free State High School and Eudora High School so they can encourage youths to stop smoking.

“Hopefully, between all of us, we are getting the message across,” Martin said.

Comments

Larry Bauerle Jr. 5 years, 6 months ago

So, of the states spending more, what percentages of their populations smoke? Are they seeing benefits of the spending?

leapinlemur 5 years, 6 months ago

Glad to see the settlement money is being used for what it was intended for -- health care and tobacco prevention.

BaldwinDad 5 years, 6 months ago

I too would like to see where the $$ is being spent, personally I could care less if they were spending it on programs to make people do something that is perfectly legal.

I mean it's legal to smoke cigarettes and were spending state income on programs to make people do something that is legal and generates income from taxes for the state.

I would rather see the other $2.3 million going to something much more useful.

BaldwinDad 5 years, 6 months ago

I meant to to say that we are wasting money on trying to stop people from doing something that is legal for them to do.

dontcallmedan 5 years, 6 months ago

Baldwin dad- I don't think it's legal for children to smoke.

davidsmom 5 years, 6 months ago

It's not legal for children to smoke, but children will always want to smoke as long as it is legal for adults, and more importantly, socially acceptable for adults. As long as society in general tolerates it, kids will want to do it. I think it is socially less acceptable than it was, say, 40 years ago, but it is still acceptable. It's the same thing with underage drinking. As long as it is socially acceptable for adults, you will never stop kids from wanting to do it. All the education in the world is worthless until society quits glamorizing drinking.

energy03 5 years, 6 months ago

How many of the posters smoke? I'm a smoker. And I'd like to be a former smoker. Where is all this educational information the settlement & tax money was to provide? The information that is available to me is not anything that hasn't been available for years now. I have to agree that casinos have received "special" treatment in the banning of public smoking. If it's banned, casinos should have to abide. Just once...I would like to see a tax used for it's intended purpose. Collecting $170 m and only using $2.3M of it for it's intended purpose is another example of the deception peddled to the tax payers of Kansas. Hey Kansas (state)...I would like to quit this nasty addiction and thanks, once again for nothing.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 6 months ago

Is an advertisement glorifying smoking really needed for this article?

kjo_shorty 5 years, 6 months ago

energy03... If you want stop smoking, then stop smoking. Take responsibility for your own actions and habits and don't make it the states problem. The state didn't make you start smoking, why should they have to make you stop. If you wanted to quit that badly, you would be able to. And in case you are wondering... yes, I am a smoker.

jayhawkzrule 5 years, 6 months ago

Where does it end? No, I don't smoke cigarettes, but I do support the rights of those who do. Why? Because I don't want the government or anyone else telling me what I can or cannot do (as long as it is legal which smoking is). Don't get me wrong, I don't let people smoke cigarettes in my house and prefer not to be around cigarettes, but that is my choice, If some other adult chooses to smoke, then that is their choice - not mine.

When you start legislating away choices, then you are on a very slippery slope. Curbing freedoms, no matter how insignifcant or applicable to you, should concern all of us. Maybe you hate cigarettes - OK, but if you allow the government to take away this right from others, then you have acquiesced to the taking of freedoms and who will stop the government when they want to take away one of your rights?

The real issue is not smoking, it is freedom. What is next? Transfats, corn syrup, sugar, caffeine, red meat, bacon, mandatory exercise, mandatory weight loss? There are any number of things that are harmful if abused. At what point can you choose or at what point does the government choose for you?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 6 months ago

Smoking, drinking, driving while talking on the damned cell phone, all are bad habits. Everyone knows this. It is simply a matter of judgement, good or bad. Why does any money have to be spent on these issues, most people will ignore them? People will continue to die from lung cancer, people will continue to die from liver disease, and people will continue to cause traffic accidents due to inattentive driving. This is human nature, to hell with common sense and I will do what I want to do. It is a flaw in character. No amount of money will prevent stupidity, ignorance, arrogance and just plain "I will do what I want and no one will stop me."

leapinlemur 5 years, 6 months ago

The entire point of this article is that large parts of those funds from the 1998 settlement were supposed to go towards smoking prevention and cessation (in addition to helping states recoup medical costs they had footed for tobacco-related illnesses). Of course, you won't hear Big Tobacco fuss over that and stop sending payments -- the Attorneys General could just take them back to court (they already rigged the system in order to make settlement the best/only option for tobacco companies).

Food for thought: it's a fact that more money goes to taxes for every pack than goes to tobacco companies, distributors and retailers. It would seem that "Big Tobacco" is no longer private sector -- it's government.

crazyredneckmomma4 5 years, 1 month ago

I WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THE SMOKE FREE CAMPUS SITUATION IN EUDORA. I RESPECT THE WISHES OF OTHER TO HAVE ALL SCHOOL GROUNDS SMOKE FREE. BUT WHAT I DO IN MY PERSONAL VEHICLE IS MY BUSINESS. YOU CANNOT TELL ME NOT TO SMOKE IN MY CAR. FOR THE LADY THAT ADDRESSED ME THIS MORNING ABOUT THE ISSUE..... ITS NOT LIKE I WAS STANDING OUTSIDE OF MY CAR SMOKING AND I DID NOT THROW THE BUTT ON THE GROUND, I WAS IN MY CAR. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. TAKE UP A HOBBY OR SOMETHING AND STOP BOTHERING THE PEOPLE WHO SMOKE.

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