Dramatic Cuts in Anti-Smoking Programs

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In conformity with the findings of a report by a coalition of anti-smoking organizations, state government are reducing the expenses on smoking prevention programs, despite generating higher-than-ever revenues from tobacco taxes and MSA payments, with the most significant lows recorded in New York State.

Anti-smoking campaign

The recently revealed report, under the name “A Broken Promise to Our Children” declares that state legislatures had reduced expenditures by more than 15%. The report shows the states have laid out $567 million for anti-smoking campaigns in the last fiscal year.

This sum accounts for just 2.3 percent of the total revenues collected from taxes and settlement contributions which made up nearly $25 billion, as the report claims.

Vera Pearrow, spokesperson for American Lung Foundation stated that it is a rather ridiculous situation that such scanty part of revenues generated from tobacco products is actually used to prevent minors from taking up cigarettes and assist those smokers who are willing to give up.

In conformity with present federal legislation, the legislatures are not required to spend the generated money on smoking-related programs. At the same time, the nationwide statistics shows that state officials had to close a total budget deficit of $145 billion last year because of enormous revenue shortages.

In accordance with the report data, the revenues from tobacco industry have grown up essentially since the majority of state government implemented tax hikes to compensate huge deficits.

New York accounts for the most dramatic funding cut related to anti-smoking programs, cutting the expenditures by more than 30 percent, regardless of the fact that state health officials elaborated several effective cessation campaigns that contributed to a significant drop in the statewide smoking rates.

The annual report demonstrates that the only state that has not reduced funding of the anti-smoking programs and maintained the expenses at the level recommended by the Center for Disease Control is North Dakota.

David Paterson, NY State Governor acknowledged that State Finance Committee had to reduce the expenses on social programs in order to use the funds for the needs of general budget, which lacks $3 billion, the highest state budget deficit across the nation.

The spokesman for the Governor they had been literally obliged to reduce the funding of smoking-related programs because of the highest fiscal deficit that state has ever faced.

The spokesman also admitted that NY public health department has spent some $50 million on anti-smoking programs in spite of the severe holes in the state coffins. They have only reduced expenses on ads and promotion of cessation programs.

Nevertheless, the public health groups that authored the report declared that budget deficit is not a valid justification for cutting the expanses on smoking prevention programs, because the tobacco-related profits have raised.

In conformity with a nationwide CDC report, the adult smoking rate has added 1 percent and has stopped at approximately 21 percent. As regards teenage smoking rate decreased to 20 percent from last year’s 36 percents.

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