New Jersey Ranks Last in Protecting Children from Tobacco

New Jersey is linked for last in the nation in financing services to avoid children from smoking and help smokers give up smoking, as outlined by a national survey launched by a coalition of public health organizations.

Cigarette Smoke

Smoking cigarette

New Jersey is one of four states that have financed zero state funds for tobacco prevention strategies in 2012. It is the first time since the 1998 state tobacco settlement that New Jersey has been unsuccessful to offer any funding for tobacco prevention.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that New Jersey offer $119.8 million a year for tobacco prevention strategies. Other important findings for New Jersey consist of:

– New Jersey in 2012 will collect $997 million in earnings from the 1998 tobacco settlement and cigarette taxes, but will spend none of it on tobacco prevention programs.

– New Jersey spent $30 million a year on tobacco prevention strategies in the years after the 1998 state tobacco settlement, but has continuously reduce resources and now spends no money at all.

– The cigarette makers spend $158 million a year to promote their products in New Jersey.

The yearly review on states’ financing of tobacco prevention strategies, named “Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 14 Years Later,” was launched by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

“New Jersey was one time a leader in fighting cigarette consumption, but it is now one of the most discouraging states when it elates to defending children from tobacco and helping smokers stop smoking,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  “Even in these hard budget periods, tobacco prevention is a good investment that saves lives and saves money by lowering tobacco-related health care costs.  States are being really penny-wise and pound-foolish when they are unsuccessful to effectively finance tobacco prevention strategies.

“In New Jersey, 16.1% of high school students are smokers, and 9,700 more children become regular smokers annually.

Across the country, the survey finds out that most states are unsuccessful to properly finance tobacco prevention and cessation strategies. Important national results of the report contain:

– The states in 2012 will gather $25.7 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.8% of it – $459.5 million – on tobacco prevention strategies. This indicates the states are spending less than two cents of every dollar in tobacco revenue to struggle cigarette consumption.

–  Entirely, the states have budgeted just 12.4% of the $3.7 billion the CDC recommends.

– Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – at the moment finance tobacco prevention strategies at the CDC-recommended level.

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