A new report shows funding to state anti-smoking programs in Nebraska and nationwide was cut by 12% in the past year. The report from the Coalition of Public Health Organizations says 36% of the funding has been cut in the last four years.
Peggy Huppert, spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society, says the foe they’re all fighting hasn’t cut its spending.
She says the tobacco industry continues spending “tens of millions of dollars” aggressively marketing its product.
Huppert says it’s unlikely state lawmakers would increase tobacco use prevention funding next year. She says the only thing that will likely lead to new money is an increase in smoking rates.
“It may take a few years, so when we can go back to the legislature and show them that smoking has increased, that smokeless tobacco usage has increased, especially among young people, which it will, then we’ll probably get more money to reverse the trend,” Huppert said. “It’s unfortunate that it has to be that way, but it probably is what will happen.”
In the meantime, Huppert hopes more can be done to prevent the increase in smoking among young people.
She says they will be keeping an eye on state programs to see if they use “evidence-based strategies.” Huppert says those programs don’t include adults talking to kids about smoking, which she says doesn’t work. “What is effective is kids talking to kids, peer-to-peer.”
The national report says states are spending less than two cents of every dollar of revenue from the tobacco settlement and taxes to fight tobacco use.
You can see the full report at: www.tobaccofreekids.org