WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Louisiana ranks 29th nationwide in funding programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released today by leading public health organizations. Louisiana is spending $5.8 million this year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is just 9.7 percent of the $59.6 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use – the nation’s leading cause of preventable death – and make the next generation tobacco-free. In Louisiana, 12.1 percent of high school students smoke, and 2,400 kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco use claims 7,200 Louisiana lives and costs the state $1.9 billion in health care bills annually.
Other key findings in the report include:
Louisiana will collect $477.4 million in revenue this year from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 1.2 percent of the money on tobacco prevention programs. Tobacco companies spend $229.9 million each year to market their deadly and addictive products in Louisiana – nearly 40 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.9 billion a year on marketing – that’s $1 million every hour.
The report – “Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later” – was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.
The report spotlights the need for stronger tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in Louisiana, which has one of the highest adult smoking rates in the nation at 22.8 percent. The state took a step backward by cutting $1.2 million in funding to its tobacco prevention programs this year. For the first time since 2002, the state is providing less than 10 percent of what the CDC recommends. Health advocates are also urging the state legislature to protect Louisianans’ right to breathe clean air at restaurants, bars and casinos by not undoing local smoke-free laws.
“By failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs, Louisiana is putting kids’ health at risk and costing taxpayers more in tobacco-related health care costs,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We can win the fight against tobacco