Every year since the tobacco settlement lawsuits were settled by states against tobacco companies (November 1998), a coalition of public health organizations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has conducted an assessment of state spending for programs that reduce tobacco use.
According to this year's report, of the $25.6 billion collected in tobacco revenue, only 1.8 percent—$456.7 million—will be spent by states on programs to prevent kids from smoking and to help smokers quit. States have slashed funding by 12 percent in the past year and by 36 percent over the past four years, threatening the nation’s progress against tobacco. This means that states are spending less than two cents of every tobacco dollar to fight tobacco use.
Recent surveys have found that smoking declines in the United States have slowed. With nearly 20 percent of Americans still smoking, this report warns that continued progress against tobacco use–the nation’s number-one cause of preventable death–is at risk unless states increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.