It’s been a decade now since the landmark 1998 national tobacco settlement and a study finds, ten years later, none of the states spend the recommended amount on anti-smoking programs.
Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at Tobacco-Free Kids, says Nebraska has plenty of room for improvement. McGoldrick says: “Nebraska’s right in the middle of the pack. They rank 30th in our report this year, spending about four-million dollars on tobacco prevention which is less than 25-percent of what the C-D-C recommends.”
He clarifies, Nebraska spends four-million on prevention out of the 116-million it’s expected to take in from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes this year. Under terms of the agreement, the states are splitting 246-billion dollars over 25 years. He says the Husker State should be making a much larger investment in its anti-smoking efforts.
“Nebraska really needs to ramp up its prevention spending,” he says. “We don’t advocate for these programs because we think they’re fun or interesting. We advocate for them because we know they work to prevent smoking among both kids and adults and it’s really a missed opportunity with all this money coming in from the tobacco settlement.”
He says Nebraska’s seen a drop in the number of smokers over the past decade, yet he says more should be done to keep kids from lighting up. McGoldrick says Nebraska will see about 24-hundred deaths from tobacco-related illnesses this year, while those illnesses will cost about half-a-billion-dollars in terms of health care. He says about 20-percent of Nebraska’s adults and high schoolers smoke, a number that’s fallen over the years and which is in line with the national average.