Programs for States

In 2011, states will collect $25.3 billion from tobacco taxes and legal settlements, but states are spending only 2% of that money on tobacco control programs. Allocating only 15% of that money would fund every state tobacco control program at CDC-recommended levels. 

The Institute of Medicine report, Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation, illustrates a plan to “reduce smoking so substantially that it is no longer a public health problem for our nation.” A most important first step is to fund a comprehensive tobacco prevention and control program at the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in its publication Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs – 2007.

Recent research investigated the relationship between per capita tobacco control expenditures, cigarette consumption, and healthcare expenditures in the state of Arizona. Arizona’s tobacco control program, established in 1994, concentrates on youth uptake of smoking and avoids public policy and commentary on the tobacco industry.

There was found to be a strong association between per capita cigarette consumption and per capita healthcare expenditure. An annual increase in consumption of one pack per capita increases healthcare expenditures by $19.50 per capita. Between 1996 and 2004, Arizona’s tobacco control program was associated with a cumulative reduction in cigarette consumption of 200 million packs, and a resulting savings of $2.33 billion, about 10 times the cost of the program through 2004. While this return is large, it is less than the more aggressive California program, which did not limit its focus to youth and included tobacco industry commentary.

Want to see what your state is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic? Go to the American Lung Association website, click on State of Tobacco Control, and select your state.

As an example, these are Colorado’s grades for 2010.

  1. Tobacco Prevention Control and Spending: Grade F – cut program funding by over 73% in the last two years
  2. Smokefree Air: Grade A
  3. Cigarette Tax: Grade D – 84 cents per pack
  4. Cessation: Grade F