Back of the Pack: Texas Trails in Tobacco-Prevention Spending
AUSTIN, Texas – The latest report on how well states are funding tobacco prevention and cessation efforts has Texas in the back of the pack, ranked 40th in the nation.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Texas will take in close to $2 billion in tobacco revenue this year, while spending just $11 million to prevent children from starting and to help smokers quit.
The group’s spokesman, John Schachter, says that's only 4 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
"Texas is definitely one of the states that gets a failing grade when it comes to devoting sufficient resources to tobacco prevention,” he says. “Therefore, we are still seeing the youth smoking rate is 14 percent, which is still way too high."
The adult smoking rate in Texas is about 16 percent, and each year in the state there are some 28,000 thousand related deaths.
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, and it's something which doesn't have to be the case," he stresses.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing nearly a 500,000 Americans each year.