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‘States Shortchange Tobacco Prevention’

Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

Most U.S states continue to shortchange programs to prevent kids from using tobacco products and help tobacco users quit despite over $1.1 billion in legal settlement payments from Juul, according to a new report.

Maine is the only state to fully fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended levels. Eight other states provide at least 50 percent of the CDC’s recommended funding, and 31 states and the District of Columbia are spending less than a quarter of the CDC’s recommendation.

The report, Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement, was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative. These organizations have issued annual reports since the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

This year, states have additional revenues that could be dedicated to tobacco prevention programs because of more than $1.1 billion in recent legal settlements with Juul for its deceptive marketing practices and its role in the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Even without counting the Juul settlement funds, the states this year (fiscal year 2024) will collect $25.9 billion from the tobacco settlements and tobacco taxes. But they will spend just 2.8 percent—$728.6 million—on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, down from $733.1 million in fiscal year 2023. This funding amounts to less than a quarter (22 percent) of the total funding recommended by the CDC.
  • The amount states are spending on tobacco prevention pales in comparison to the $8.6 billion a year tobacco companies spend to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products in the United States. This means tobacco companies spend nearly $12 to market their products for every $1 the states spend to fight tobacco use.

“We know what works to win the fight against tobacco, and states have plenty of resources from tobacco settlements and taxes to invest in programs that can accelerate progress. Unfortunately, most states are falling short in funding these lifesaving programs,” said Yolonda C. Richardson, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement. “The tobacco industry continues to do everything it can to target our kids, Black communities and other vulnerable communities, especially with flavored products like menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes. We know their playbook, and policymakers should be using every tool available to protect our kids and help those already addicted.”