Scarcnet News Summaries (Advocacy Institute)
Few States Are Using Tobacco Settlement Money For Tobacco Prevention
As states begin to deal out their tobacco settlement money, so far only five of the 46 states that signed the Master Settlement Agreement (Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey and Washington) have allocated a significant portion towards tobacco control programs, according to a study released today by the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Heart Association. Instead, states are proposing to spend their settlement on programs like health care, education, transportation and tax cuts. Tobacco control advocates like Mike Moore, Mississippi attorney general, are disturbed by these plans. Moore said, "We fought this battle to protect kids, improve public health and reduce tobacco consumption. It would be a hollow victory indeed if the proceeds aren't spent on what the fight was about." Tobacco companies claim they prefer that the settlement money be spent on youth prevention programs. Jan Smith, spokeswoman for R.J. Reynolds said, "We certainly hope the states will devote a significant portion of their settlement funds to youth nonsmoking programs. This was a major reason for the settlement." Only four states, Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota, and Mississippi are planning spend enough money to meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) minimum requirements for an effective tobacco prevention program. Washington State, depending on how fast it spends its tobacco control money, may also achieve the CDC requirements.
Source: Gordon Fairclough, "States Plan Assorted Uses For Tobacco Settlement," WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 24, 1999, p. A4.