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AMA Statement on New Report Citing Reduced State Funding for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs

For immediate release:
Nov. 30, 2011

Statement attributable to:
Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association (AMA) is very concerned about the reduction in state funding for tobacco prevention and treatment programs as noted in a recent report, titled ‘A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later.’ With fewer funds for these important programs, smokers who want to quit will find it harder to find the support they need, and the success of proven tobacco prevention programs aimed at children and teens will be challenged due to these funding cuts.

Despite tremendous progress in enacting smoke-free laws and higher tobacco taxes to discourage tobacco use, the United States has seen smoking rates, especially among teens, remain flat with slight increases in cigar and smokeless tobacco use among teens and young adults.

States will collect $25.6 billion in revenue from the state tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes in 2012, but will only spend 1.8 percent of this on programs to prevent kids from smoking and to help smokers quit. At a time when tobacco use is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., it is shameful that states are spending less than two cents of every tobacco revenue dollar to fight tobacco use.

The AMA has urged physicians and state medical societies to take an active role in educating state elected officials on the importance of funding tobacco prevention and treatment programs, especially to help ease the economic burden for the treatment of tobacco-related diseases. This report serves as a wake up call to state legislators that tobacco prevention and treatment programs must be adequately funded if we want to eliminate the health, social and economic consequences associated with tobacco use.”

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Contact:

Shannon O'Brien
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4443
Shannon.Obrien@ama-assn.org

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