Federal Court Judge Gladys Kessler has ruled that Big Tobacco needs to just stick to the facts. Specifically, she’s ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements that say they lied to us about the dangers of smoking and simply state the deadly health effects of smoking. As we wrote in our Letter to the Editor published in today’s New York Times, these statements are not “forced public confessions,” just the indisputable truth.
More truth was revealed in today’s headlines. “States Cut Antismoking Outlays Despite Record Tobacco Revenue”. In a report released today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, we learn that states will collect a record $25.7 billion in taxes and settlement money in the current fiscal year, but they are only set to spend less than 2 percent of that on prevention.
In 2012, New York State took in $2 billion in tobacco taxes and the Master Settlement Agreement, but the state spent only 2 cents of every dollar raised on tobacco prevention and cessation. And in the past six years, over 50% of funding for the New York State tobacco control program has been cut.
As a result of these budget cuts to the state’s tobacco prevention program, some demographic groups in which smoking rates are the highest pay with their lives and are not getting the resources they need to quit.
Funding a more robust tobacco control program would save the state money. Tobacco costs New York State an estimated $8.17 billion in health care costs, including $2.7 billion in Medicaid costs as a result of tobacco use. With adequate funding, New York State would increase community education and youth outreach in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, improve the health of all New Yorkers, save lives and money.
And those are the facts.