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A Decade of Broken Promises The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement Ten Years Later

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Publication Date: November 2008

Publisher(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Topic: Health (Licensing and regulation)


Ten years ago, the states achieved more than $246 billion in legal settlements against the tobacco industry. Today, the states have failed to keep their promise to spend a significant portion of the money on programs to protect children from tobacco and help smokers quit.

Those are the key findings of this report, released by a coalition of public health organizations.

Among the key findings:

* Over the past decade, the states have received $203.5 billion in tobacco-generated revenue, but they have spent only $6.5 billion on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
* This year, no state is funding tobacco prevention programs at the level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
* Only nine states are funding tobacco prevention at even half the CDC-recommended amount, and 27 states are providing less than a quarter of the recommended funding.
* The tobacco industry continues to aggressively market its products. The tobacco companies spend nearly $19 to market tobacco products for every $1 the states spend to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

Recent surveys show that the nation has made significant progress in reducing smoking in the past decade, but smoking declines have slowed. Twenty percent of high school students and 19.7 percent of adults still smoke, and tobacco use remains the nation's leading cause of preventable death.

The report calls on Congress and the states to follow the recommendations of recent landmark reports by the Institute of Medicine and the President's Cancer Panel, including enacting legislation granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Additionally, the states should further increase tobacco taxes, enact comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws and fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels.


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