Kentucky ranks 36th in state tobacco control spending nationwide. According to the RWJ Foundation report, states will collect a record $25.7 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and from tobacco taxes this year, but will spend just 1.8 percent of that money on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. That’s less than two cents of every tobacco dollar sent back to the states. Only Alaska and North Dakota are funding the levels that the CDC has recommended.
Kentucky is not even remotely up to snuff on state tobacco-prevention programming. According to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control, the state spends only $2.2 million on such programs. That amount is only 4.5 percent of what the CDC recommends that state, which has the highest incidence of tobacco use in the nation, spend. If the state spent what the nation’s most prestigious health institution recommended, state spending to improve Kentucky’s collective lungs should be in the $57 million range.