Report: Idaho ranks 25th in protecting kids from tobacco

A new study ranks Idaho 25th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.

According to a national report released by a coalition of public health organizations – including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and American Lung Association – Idaho currently spends $2.2 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 13 percent of the $16.9 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among other key findings, Idaho this year will collect $74 million in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 3 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.  Also, tobacco companies spend $39.4 million a year to market their products in Idaho – that’s 18 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The report also points out that Idaho’s cigarette tax is only 57 cents per pack, which is 42nd in the nation and well below the state average of $1.48 per pack. Increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids.

In Idaho, 14.3 percent of high school students smoke, and 1,300 more kids become regular smokers each year.

Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level. (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

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