Despite collecting billions in tobacco-related revenues, states plan to spend relatively little on control and prevention programs in the 2015 fiscal year.
States this fiscal year are expected to collect $25.6 billion in revenues from payouts from the blockbuster 1998 tobacco settlement as well as tobacco taxes, according to a new report, by a coalition of groups opposed to smoking. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends states spend $3.3 billion overall on control and prevention. Yet states only have plans to spend $490 million—the equivalent of about 15 percent of the CDC-recommended amount and 2 percent of the tobacco-related revenues.
Tobacco-control spending, as a share of recommended levels
Only two states—North Dakota and Alaska—plan to spend as much on tobacco control and prevention as recommended by the CDC, according to the report, titled “Broken Promises to Our Children” and produced by a coalition of groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
Five other states—Delaware, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Wyoming and Maine—plan to spend half the amount recommended by the CDC, while 31 states and D.C. plan to spend less than a fifth of the recommended amount. New Jersey is the only state to have dedicated zero funds to tobacco prevention this year. In its report earlier this year, the CDC said its recommendations for tobacco control and prevention spending would help “to reduce tobacco use and the personal and societal burdens of tobacco-related disease and death.” That report identifies tobacco use as ” the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.”
“Every scientific authority that has studied the issue, including the Surgeon General, the CDC, the [Institute of Medicine], the President’s Cancer Panel and the National Cancer Institute, has concluded that when properly funded, implemented and sustained, these programs reduce smoking among both kids and adults,” write the authors of the “Broken Promises” report.
The coalition of groups argues that reducing the smoking rate among high schoolers to Florida’s low rate of 7.5 percent would prevent 7 million children from becoming adult smokers, save 2.3 million kids from early smoking-related deaths and save $122 billion in tobacco-related health care costs.
Tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion annually on marketing, according to 2011 Federal Trade Commission data cited in the report, amounting to about $18 for every dollar spent by states. Advocates argue that smoking prevention could save states in the long-run, as health-care costs rise with tobacco use, as the CDC noted in its report earlier this year:
Full implementation of comprehensive tobacco control policies and evidence-based interventions at CDC-recommended funding levels would result in a substantial reduction in tobacco-related morbidity and mortality and billions of dollars in savings from averted medical costs and lost productivity in the United States.
Indeed, a new CDC report out this week found that one national anti-smoking campaign was incredible cost-effective, as The Post’s Lenny Bernstein reported:
At $48 million, the first government mass media campaign to convince cigarette smokers to quit would seem a pricey luxury, especially since that sum purchased just three months of television ads from March through June of 2o12. But a new study of its cost effectiveness, released Wednesday, determined that it cost just $480 for each smoker who quit and $393 per year of life saved.
According to one standard, up to $50,000 per year of life gained is considered to be a cost-effective intervention, he writes.