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Hawaii, most other states shortchange tobacco prevention programs, report says

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 9:56 a.m. HST, Dec 9, 2013

Hawaii is one of four states that provides only half of the recommended funding to mandated tobacco prevention programs, and is among the majority of states that don't pay promised amounts, according to a new report by several prominent health and anti-smoking groups.

Fifteen years after reaching more than $246 billion in legal settlements against the tobacco industry, most states are shortchanging prevention programs targeted at their residents, according to the report.

Hawaii -- along with Delaware, Wyoming and Oklahoma -- provide only half of the tobacco prevention funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but that's still better than most states, the report found.

Nationwide, states on average provide just 13 percent of the CDC-recommended tobacco prevention funding, and only two states -- North Dakota and Alaska -- are funding the programs at the recommended level, the report says.

In the past 15 years, states have received $390.8 billion in tobacco-generated revenue, including $116.3 billion from the tobacco settlement and $274.5 billion from tobacco taxes. However, they have spent only 2.3 percent of their tobacco take, or $8.9 billion, on tobacco prevention programs, the report found. It also finds that states will collect $25 billion in tobacco revenues in fiscal year 2014, but will spend only 1.9 percent of it, or $481 million, on prevention programs.

The report is titled "Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 15 Years Later" and was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

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