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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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Iowa’s Investment in Saving People From Smoking at Risk

April 25, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa House has voted to nearly abolish all spending for tobacco cessation and prevention programs in the state. The $7.3 million program either will have its funding restored this week by the Senate or will be mostly done away with.

Peggy Huppert, director of government relations for the Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society, points out that the state's non-smokers have a stake in helping the remaining smokers quit.

"We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Medicaid, much of that to treat chronic illnesses caused by smoking, so for this relatively modest investment of state money to be eliminated is very short-sighted."

Iowans get $260 million a year from the tobacco tax, she says, plus tens of millions each year pocketed by the state treasury from a settlement with the tobacco companies, all of which would more than cover the cost of prevention and cessation programs. She adds that most smokers are so addicted that they need assistance quitting.

"Only about seven percent of people who try to quit cold-turkey with no help are successful. So they need help, and it's in the state's best interest to help them quit."

Huppert says 90 percent of smokers started as teenagers; therefore, money invested in prevention programs to keep Iowans from smoking in the first place is well worth it. Republicans in the House contend the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA