15 years ago 46 states and the nation’s major tobacco companies came to a multi-billion dollar settlement. The purpose of the action was to ultimately reduce smoking.
From 1999 to 2013, Kansas collected more than $2.3 billion from the settlement and tobacco taxes, and spent $10.5 million on tobacco control programs recently reported the Kansas Health Institute.
“Out of that $2.3 billion, Kansas has invested less than one-half of 1 percent in tobacco prevention,” said Jeff Willett, vice president of programs for the Kansas Health Foundation and a former director of the New York State Tobacco Control Program.
“Kansas spends virtually nothing on tobacco prevention and cessation,” said Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research for the national Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
Most of the Kansas settlement money pays for health, education, and social programs for children.
“That’s not to say that some of the settlement dollars aren’t being spent on worthy issues, obviously we have a lot of things we need to address,” McGoldrick said. “But these suits (against the tobacco companies) were brought about to address the tobacco problem. And again, it would just take a portion of those funds to fund tobacco prevention at the level recommended by the CDC.”
If Kansas were to follow the CDC recommendation, it would need to spend $32.1 million of the $55 million it expects to receive this year in settlement funds on tobacco control programs.
Kansas comes in at number 41 in prevention spending according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. To see how your state did, here’s the link.
The Kansas Health Foundation is the largest funder of Kansas Health Institute, the parent organization of the KHI News Service.