CDC says state spends less than 8% of what it should on preventing use of tobacco; companies spend 13 times as much

Kentucky spends only 7.6 percent of what it should spend on preventing the use of tobacco, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in its latest annual report on the subject.

The state spent $4.33 million on tobacco-control programs in 2011, the year covered by the report. The CDC said spending of $57.2 million was called for, since 29 percent of Kentuckians smoked that year. Tobacco-related illnesses are estimated to cost Kentuckians $3.3 billion a year.

South Carolina and Texas, which spent 6.5 percent and 7 percent of the recommended amounts, were also singled out for criticism by the CDC. Nationally, states spend less than 18 percent of what they should, $3.7 billion, in the agency’s view. “Only Alaska and North Dakota funded programs at the CDC-recommended levels, $10.7 million and $9.3 million, respectively,” Samantha Ehlinger of McClatchy Newspapers reports.

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“States that made larger investments in tobacco prevention and control
have seen larger declines in cigarettes sales than the United States as a
whole, and the prevalence of smoking has declined faster as spending for tobacco control programs has increased,” the CDC report said. “Evidence suggests that funding tobacco prevention and control efforts at
the levels recommended . . . could achieve larger and more
rapid reductions in tobacco use and associated morbidity and mortality.”

In contrast to the state spending of $658 million on tobacco control, tobacco companies spent more than 13 times as much on advertising and promotion in 2011: $8.8 billion, or $24 million per day, the report noted.

“During the same period, more than 3,200 youth younger than 18 years of
age smoked their first cigarette and another 2,100 youth and young
adults who are occasional smokers progressed to become daily smokers,” the report said. “If current rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 years
of age who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from
smoking-related disease. However, the tobacco-use epidemic can be markedly reduced by implementing interventions that are known to work.”

For the CDC’s latest comprehensive report on tobacco use in Kentucky, with data from 2012, click here. For county-by-county figures on adults smoking in Kentucky in 2011-13, click here.

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