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Ohio Falling Behind in Tobacco-Prevention Spending

PHOTO: A new report shows Ohio's smoking prevention efforts lag behind most states, spending just over five percent of what the Centers for Disease Control recommends the state should be putting into tobacco control. Photo credit: Ardelfin/Morguefile.
PHOTO: A new report shows Ohio's smoking prevention efforts lag behind most states, spending just over five percent of what the Centers for Disease Control recommends the state should be putting into tobacco control. Photo credit: Ardelfin/Morguefile.
January 6, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The latest report on how well states are funding tobacco prevention and cessation efforts has Ohio ranked 37th in the nation.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Ohio will take in over $1 billion in tobacco tax and settlement revenue this year, but will spend only $7.5 million to help smokers quit and prevent kids from starting.

Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy with the American Lung Association in Ohio, says Ohio's smoking rate of 23 percent indicates the Buckeye State is falling behind other states in prevention efforts.

"The rest of the country is seeing those health care savings and seeing lives saved," says Kiser. "We're seeing the opposite, so we really need to take advantage of opportunities we have to reduce those smoking rates."

According to the report, smoking causes over 20,000 deaths in Ohio each year, and over $5 billion in annual health care costs. The tobacco industry annually spends $394 million on marketing in Ohio.

John Schachter, director of state communications with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, says states are collecting more than $25 billion this year from tobacco taxes and lawsuit settlement dollars, but are spending less than two percent of that on prevention and cessation programs.

"Those numbers are indicative that states are literally sacrificing the lives and health of their kids," says Schachter. "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 500,000 Americans each year, yet Ohio is spending just 5.3 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends should be put into tobacco control.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH