WASHINGTONMost states get a failing grade in the latest assessment of spending on antitobacco programs. The updated report on how the states are allocating the money they receive from legal settlements with the tobacco industry shows that only five states are providing funds for tobacco prevention programs at or above the lowest amounts recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC guidelines suggest a minimum spending level for each state that ranges from 20% to 25% of the settlement funds a state receives. Only Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Minnesota meet or exceed the suggested minimum, according to the report released by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and American Lung Association.
The report also noted that some states have cut the percentage of settlement dollars devoted to tobacco programs because their revenue intakes have diminished as a result of the economic recession. Florida, for example, slashed funds for its highly regarded tobacco control efforts by 20% in December 2001. Tennessee legislators voted to spend all of the state’s settlement funds received thus far to balance its budget for 1 year.
Only 19 states have funded their tobacco programs at or above 50% of the recommended levels; only 16 provide funding at 25% to 50% of the minimum, and 12 support tobacco programs at less than 25% of the minimum. Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia have committed no major fundingeither from their settlement money or other revenue sources to tobacco prevention.