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Iowa in Middle of Pack for Tobacco-Prevention Spending

PHOTO: The youth smoking rate in Iowa is 18 percent, well above the U.S. average of around 15 percent. Photo credit: Fried Dough/Flickr.
PHOTO: The youth smoking rate in Iowa is 18 percent, well above the U.S. average of around 15 percent. Photo credit: Fried Dough/Flickr.
December 26, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa – The latest report on how well states are funding tobacco prevention and cessation efforts has Iowa ranked in the middle of the pack at number 24.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Iowa will take in $288 million in tobacco revenue this year, while spending about $5 million to prevent children from starting and to help smokers quit.

The group’s spokesman, John Schachter, says that's just 17 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation.

"As a result, the youth smoking rate in Iowa is still over 18 percent, which is above the national average,” he points out. “We're really seeing the need for more intense, more focused, more consistent funding for tobacco prevention programs, especially toward youth, to be able to bring those numbers down."

About one-in-five Iowa adults is a smoker, and smoking causes around 5,000 deaths in the state annually.

Nationwide, Schachter notes that states are collecting more than $25 billion this year from tobacco taxes and lawsuit settlement dollars, but are spending less than 2 percent of that on prevention and cessation programs.

"And those numbers are indicative that those states are literally sacrificing the lives and health of kids,” he states. “And it's something which doesn't have to be the case."

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing nearly a 500,000 Americans each year.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA