A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement Seven Years Later


Publication Date:

Publisher: Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Author(s): Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Research Area: Health

Type: Report


Since the November 1998 multistate tobacco settlement, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has issued regular reports assessing whether the states are keeping their promise to use a significant portion of the settlement funds—expected to total $246 billion over the first 25 years—to attack the enormous public health problem posed by tobacco use in the United States.

This year, we find that while the states have modestly increased total funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, the vast majority of states are still failing to keep the promise of the tobacco settlement and falling far short of funding such programs at even minimum levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The states' failure to do more to prevent and reduce tobacco use is especially troubling in light of recent national surveys indicating that the remarkable progress the United States has made in reducing smoking has stalled among both youth and adults.

Key Findings:

* In fiscal year 2007, only three states—Maine, Delaware and Colorado—are funding tobacco prevention programs at CDC minimum levels.
* Only 14 other states are funding tobacco prevention programs at even half the minimum level recommended by the CDC.
* Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia are spending less than half the CDC's minimum amount.
* Another five states—Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire and Tennessee—allocate no significant state funds for tobacco prevention.
* The combined amount all the states have allocated for tobacco prevention this year—$597.5—is an increase of 8.4 percent from the $551 million allocated in fiscal 2006, but that is still just 37 percent of the $1.6 billion minimum the CDC recommends. One state, New York, accounts for nearly all of this increase.
* The combined total the states are spending on tobacco prevention amounts to just 2.8 percent of the record $21.7 billion in tobacco-generated revenue the states will collect this year from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes.
* Beginning in 2008, the states will have a critical second chance to adequately fund tobacco prevention programs. That is because of a little known provision of the 1998 state tobacco settlement that calls for the 46 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories that are party to the settlement to receive “bonus” payments totaling almost $1 billion per year. By allocating these new windfall funds to tobacco prevention and cessation programs, states can finally keep the promise of the tobacco settlement to confront the tobacco problem.