Indiana lags in anti-smoking campaign efforts

By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email

New research reveals the Hoosier State is lacking when it comes to anti-smoking programs. A report by several prominent health organizations looks at whether states kept their promise to use a significant portion of a 1998 tobacco settlement for anti-smoking campaigns.

Indiana ranks 31st in the nation in terms of spending. The Hoosier State spends 7 percent of what is recommended by the CDC, and Indiana uses 1 percent of the funds from the 1998 tobacco settlement.

The tobacco industry spends 47 times that amount to market their products in Indiana.

The following are the full results of the study.

Fifteen years after the 1998 state tobacco settlement, Indiana ranks 31st in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

The report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 15 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

The report assesses whether the states have kept their promise to use a significant portion of their settlement funds – estimated to total $246 billion over the first 25 years – to fight tobacco use. The states also collect billions more each year from tobacco taxes.

Indiana currently spends $5.8 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 7.3 percent of the $78.8 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Indiana include:

• Indiana this year will collect $536.9 million in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.1 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs. This means Indiana is spending a penny of every dollar in tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use.
• Indiana’s current funding for tobacco prevention represents a 38 percent cut since last year, from $9.3 million to $5.8 million, and an overall funding cut of 64 percent since 2008.
• The tobacco companies spend $271.7 million a year to market their products in Indiana. This is 47 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

“The findings of this report highlight some very disturbing trends regarding the reduction of tobacco use in Indiana,” said Lindsay Grace, chair of Tobacco Free Indiana. “Not only are we investing only a fraction of CDC recommended levels for tobacco prevention and cessation, the recent ruling that Indiana has lacked ‘diligent enforcement’ of the non-participating manufacturers (NPM) clause of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement threatens to reduce funding levels even more.”

Indiana once had a highly successful tobacco prevention program that helped reduce smoking among high school students by 36 percent from 2001-2011. Despite that progress, funding for the program has been cut multiple times in recent years and Indiana is now spending barely 7 percent of what the CDC recommends for tobacco prevention.

In addition, Indiana’s cigarette tax of 99.5 cents per pack ranks 32nd in the nation and is below the national average of $1.53 per pack.

“The current state of tobacco prevention and cessation threatens to reverse the strides we made in Indiana when these efforts were better funded,” Grace said. “Unless Indiana’s leaders reverse course and restore funding for tobacco prevention, the state will pay a high price with more kids smoking, more lives lost to tobacco and higher tobacco-related health care costs.”

In Indiana, 18.1 percent of high school students smoke, and 6,300 more kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco annually claims 9,700 lives and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills.

There is more evidence than ever before that tobacco prevention and cessation programs work to reduce smoking, save lives and save money. Florida, which has a well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention program, reduced its high school smoking rate to just 8.6 percent in 2013, far below the national rate. One study found that during the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent on the program.

“There are proven methods for reducing the burden of tobacco, and we have seen the positive results of those methods here in Indiana in the past,” Grace said. “It’s critical for our state to adopt and invest in those methods to save the lives of today’s youth.”

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