News Release from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hawaii ranks 3rd in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.
Hawaii currently spends $10.7 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 70 percent of the $15.2 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Hawaii include:
- Hawaii this year will collect $187 million in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 5.7 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs. This means Hawaii is spending about 6 cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
- The tobacco companies spend $33.5 million a year to market their products in Hawaii. This is 3 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.
The annual report on states' funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled "A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.
Hawaii has been a leader in the fight against tobacco with the 4th highest tobacco tax in the nation ($3.20 per pack), a strong smoke-free workplace law and its tobacco prevention and cessation program. As a result, Hawaii has some of the lowest smoking rates in the nation, with 11.3 percent of high school students and 14.5 percent of adults smoking (nationally, 19.5 percent of high school students and 19.3 percent of adults smoke).
"Hawaii continues to be a leader in the fight against tobacco and again is one of the top states when it comes to preventing kids from smoking and helping smokers quit," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We applaud Hawaii's leaders for maintaining their commitment to tobacco prevention even in these difficult budget times. They know that tobacco prevention is a smart investment that saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."
Despite the state's progress, 1,500 Hawaii kids still become regular smokers each year. Tobacco annually claims 1,100 lives and costs the state $336 million in health care bills.
Nationally, the report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Altogether, the states have cut funding for these programs to the lowest level since 1999, when they first started receiving tobacco settlement payments. Key national findings of the report include:
- The states this year will collect $25.6 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.8 percent of it – $456.7 million – on tobacco prevention programs. This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
- States have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by 12 percent ($61.2 million) in the past year and by 36 percent ($260.5 million) in the past four years.
- Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level.
The report warns that the nation's progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.
More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.
RELATED LINK: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org