WASHINGTONOnly five states have allocated the minimum amount of
their tobacco settlement funds recommended by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) for comprehensive tobacco prevention
programs, according to report released at a Senate hearing.
Two years ago, 46 states and the District of Columbia reached an
agreement with the major tobacco companies to settle the states
lawsuits against the industry. Payments from the tobacco companies
are expected to total about $206 billion over 25 years.
Four other statesFlorida, Mississippi, Texas, and
Minnesotahave reached separate agreements with the industry
totaling about $40 billion.
The CDC has recommended that the states use 20% to 25% of their
settlement funds for antitobacco programs. It also suggested a low
minimum funding level for each state, which it regards as
the least amount necessary for the state to conduct an effective and
Too often, the states are not living up to their promise to
spend the tobacco settlement money to reduce the death toll from
tobacco, the report charged.
Show Us the Money
Titled Show Us the Money: An Update on the States
Allocation of Tobacco Settlement Dollars, the report was
sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer
Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung
Association. It was presented at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing
by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew L. Myers.
The need for comprehensive, effective tobacco prevention
programs has never been greater because youth smoking rates remain at
near-record levels and tobacco company promotional efforts that
directly affect children continue to rise, Mr. Myers said.
Although the settlement has eliminated or reduced some types of
advertising, like billboards, the tobacco companies are always
finding new and creative ways to reach our kids.
According to the report, Virtually every state legislature has
now had the opportunity to make at least an initial decision about
how to spend the billions of dollars that they are receiving from the
tobacco companies. However, the results have fallen short of
the hopes of many antismoking advocates.
Fifteen states made what the report calls substantial
new commitments in 1999 and 2000 to fund tobacco prevention and
cessation. Of these, only fiveIndiana, Maine,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Mississippiallotted the minimum
amount recommended by CDC for such programs.
Eleven states have committed modest amounts, less
than 50% of the minimum recommended by CDC.
Fourteen states have made a minimal financial
commitment, less than 25% of the minimum dollar amount recommended.
Three statesCalifornia, North Dakota, and
Michigancommitted none of their settlement funds to tobacco
programs. However, California has a comprehensive prevention and
cessation effort that is funded by state tobacco tax revenues.
North Carolina placed its settlement money into a trust fund
that could be used to finance tobacco prevention programs but is not
required to do so.
Legislators in six states and the District of Columbia have
made no determination yet on how to allocate their settlement funds.
The tobacco settlement has resulted in increased money being
spent at the state level on tobacco prevention and cessation, but the
numbers are woefully short of what the CDC has concluded represents
the absolute minimum necessary to fund a truly effective, sustained
comprehensive program, the report said. The states
uneven funding levels are inconsistent with the magnitude of the
disease and death caused by tobacco use.