CDC: States Spend Small Share of Tobacco Funds on Anti-Smoking Efforts

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States have been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars annually as part of a 1998 tobacco settlement but have spent only about 3% of that money to combat tobacco use, according to an analysis published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Thursday, the Washington Times reports (Wetzstein, Washington Times, 5/24).

Under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, four of the nation's largest tobacco companies agreed to pay $206 billion to 46 states over 25 years. The agreement settled more than 40 state lawsuits, which sought to recover damages for smoking-related costs accrued by state governments (California Healthline, 9/7/2006).

Since the settlement was reached, through 2010, states have collected nearly $244 billion in settlement funds and cigarette taxes, but they spent just $8.1 billion for tobacco control efforts, CDC said. That amount is "far less" than the $29.2 billion that CDC recommended states use over the same period for such initiatives, according to the AP/Sacramento Bee. CDC also found that the amount spent on tobacco control programs has "declined dramatically" in recent years, the AP/Bee reports.

Higher Anti-Tobacco Spending Leads to Results

According to the analysis, cigarette sales and smoking rates declined faster when states spent more on anti-tobacco programs. Some of those states included California, New York and Washington. At the same time, cigarette sales dropped nearly twice as much in states that spent a larger amount on the initiatives, the analysis found (Felberbaum, AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/24).

The report added, "The more that states invest in comprehensive tobacco control programs and implement high-impact policies ... the greater the reduction in youth initiation, tobacco-related disease and death, and tobacco-related healthcare costs and lost productivity" (Neale, MedPage Today, 5/24).

Lack of Tobacco-Control Spending 'Pennywise and Pound Foolish'

CDC Director Thomas Frieden said that states' failure to allocate appropriate amounts of money for the funding to such programs "is not only pennywise and pound foolish, but it's also costing lives." He noted that since 2008, the tobacco industry has spent $10.5 billion on product marketing campaigns, citing the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission.

Stanton Glantz -- a tobacco researcher, and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California-San Francisco -- said, "The tobacco companies are out there doing everything they can do, and they have gobs of money to do it," adding, "You don't need to meet them dollar for dollar, you just need to be out there with enough to counter them. ... It's easier to sell the truth than a lie" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/24).


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