Tobacco Prevention Funding Declines by 36%

Annual report details state-by-state spending levels

WASHINGTON -- States have slashed funding for programs to reduce tobacco use by 12% in the past year and by 36% over the past four years, according to a report released by a coalition of public health organizations including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The states this year (Fiscal Year 2012) will collect a near-record $25.6 billion in revenue from the 1998 state tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.8% of it--$456.7 million--on prevention and cessation programs. This means the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.

Both the total amounts states are spending on tobacco prevention programs and the percentage of tobacco revenue spent on these programs are the lowest since 1999, when the states first received significant tobacco settlement funds.

The anti-tobacco group wants states to increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. It also calls on states to increase tobacco taxes and, for states that have yet to do so, to enact strong smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces, restaurants and bars.

The report further calls on the federal government to launch a national tobacco prevention and cessation campaign, including a mass-media campaign and support for telephone quitlines, as the Obama Administration proposed in its Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan. It also calls for preservation of the Prevention & Public Health Fund, created by the health care reform law to support such disease prevention initiatives.

The annual report, 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.

Click here to view the full report and state-specific information.

Other findings of this year's report include:

  • Most states are below recommended funding levels for tobacco prevention programs set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The $456.7 million the states have budgeted is 12% of the $3.7 billion the CDC recommends for all the states combined.
  • States have cut funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs by $61.2 million (12%) in the past year and by $260.5 million (36%) in the past four years.
  • Counting both state funds and federal grants, only Alaska and North Dakota currently fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels. Only four other states provide even half the recommended funding, while 33 states and Washington, D.C., provide less than a quarter. Four states--Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio--and Washington, D.C., have budgeted zero state funds for tobacco prevention this year.
  • Federal grants have lessened the effect of state funding cuts, but some of that funding is temporary and will run out this year. In fiscal year 2012, the federal government is providing $91.2 million in state and community grants to reduce tobacco use. States have also received $196.4 million in stimulus funds for tobacco prevention, some of which will be spent this year.