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98 percent of Big Tobacco settlement money being used to fund something other than smoking prevention programs

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Big Tobacco, settlement money, smoking prevention

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(NaturalNews) The vast majority of the $246 billion rolling settlement awarded to all 50 U.S. states as part of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement is apparently being spent on things other than the anti-smoking programs and campaigns for which the money was intended, according to a new report. Entitled Broken Promises to Our Children, the new report highlights the fact that, 14 years later, as little as two percent of the settlement money is actually going towards smoking prevention programs, while the other 98 percent is being funneled elsewhere into the unknown.

Each year, states are given varying amounts of the settlement money specifically to develop programs aimed at curbing tobacco use among citizens, and particularly among children. For the 2013 fiscal year, the states will collectively be given $25.7 billion in settlement revenues for the purpose of fighting smoking. But according to this latest report, which was issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, only about $460 million of this extremely large sum will actually be used for anti-tobacco purposes.

"This year, our report finds that states continue to spend only a miniscule portion of their tobacco revenues to fight tobacco use," says the report's executive summary. "The states have also failed to reverse deep cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs that have undermined the nation's efforts to reduce tobacco use."

According to the report, only two states are actually meeting U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for spending the minimum amount of settlement money recommended for anti-smoking programs -- Alaska and North Dakota. In fact, only three other states, Delaware, Wyoming and Hawaii, are funding tobacco prevention programs at even half the CDC-recommended levels, illustrating just how disgracefully these funds are being mismanaged.

You can read the full report here: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org

"I'm curious to know where the rest of the money is spent," said Jane Lindfors, a resident of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to WWLP 22 News near Springfield about the issue. "I do think more (money) needs to go for smoking cessation."

At the bottom of the list are New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Ohio, all of which have allocated zero funding for tobacco prevention programs during FY 2013, despite all the money they will receive as part of the settlement. Similarly, Washington state has decided to cut its tobacco prevention programs by a whopping 90 percent, while Maryland will cut its programs by 75 percent, according to the report.

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