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

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 09:56 a.m. HST, Dec 09, 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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loquaciousone wrote:
How much of the hurricane fund do we spend on hurricane?
on December 9,2013 | 06:45AM
localguy wrote:
None. All the money was blown away.
on December 9,2013 | 10:09AM
Maipono wrote:
Eh Guv, our surplus is an all time high, wow, with a stagnant economy, I wonder where all the money came from to give all those raises to your supporters? Corrupt, Crony Capitalism, we voted for it, now we have to live with it.
on December 9,2013 | 06:55AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
No wonder the Gov can say we have a budget surplus
on December 9,2013 | 06:55AM
busterb wrote:
The article says, if you try to read it, the surplus is due to FIFTEEN YEARS of build up. How long do you think mini-me has lived across the Capital? The giant android lived there for 8.
on December 9,2013 | 07:10AM
environmental_lady wrote:
Shame on those governments that shortchange tobacco prevention programs. It's like they want people to smoke so that they can collect more tobacco taxes, not realizing that this policy is penny-wise and pound-foolish, since the state will have to support more for impoverished sick smokers hospital expenses through Quest. Totally corrupt and misguided!
on December 9,2013 | 07:44AM
royalridge_2000 wrote:
Thats why this whole thing is a joke. Claiming our states health has been damaged due to tobacco and signing on to the master settlement, raising tobaccos taxes, etc for the "children" blah, blah, blah. Tobacco taxes and fees has never been about health and all about making money. For those who dont care about those taxes cause they dont smoke and are happy smokers are being unfairly taxed, be careful what you wish for. This just opens pandoras box to other taxes in the name of health. Soda tax? Sounds familiar? There has even been proposals for a fast food tax. It will keep going. Even though I dont smoke cigarettes, I think these tobacco taxes are a shame!
on December 9,2013 | 08:02AM
entrkn wrote:
So what is the specific deficit amount?
on December 9,2013 | 08:33AM
localguy wrote:
As they always do, elected bureaucrats will lie, cheat, steal, do what ever it takes to get their hands on more money. They lied to us when they said they would sue big tobacco to get money to pay for medical costs. Soon as the money came in they changed their mind, started spending the money on pet projects and supporting special interest groups. Medical expenses for smokers? Oh, well, if there is any money left over we'll give you the change bureaucrats said. So when you hear state bureaucrats whining about lost internet sales tax money, remember how they treated the tobacco settlement money. They wasted it. Same with internet sale tax money, expect it to be wasted too.
on December 9,2013 | 10:07AM
awahana wrote:
Totally expected outcome. At least to me.

15 years ago, when the tobacco settlement was announced, and the state was all giddy, and the attorney general (Margery Bronster at the time) had a workshop at Ko Olina, I asked her in the conference session, "Does any of the family of the victims whom the state used in their trial case against the tobacco companies, and was critical to the outcome of the verdict, and subsequently died of cancer, emphysema, etc. get partial compensation for their loss?" She essentially said, in a convoluted political speak way, NO.

So to me, to see this money used in UNINTENDED ways, is ill gotten, and the attorneys, bureaucrats, etc. should be prosecuted for improper use of funds. Why did it take 15 years of abuse of funds to only be revealed now? Should have been audited starting YEAR 1 of disbursement.

on December 9,2013 | 11:28AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
This is a really sad statement about our government. They dropped the ball when it came to taking care of the people. I suspect that the funds went elsewhere like the way the hurricane funds went to the teachers' raises. Take the Health Department, for example. They taxed our bottles and cans and then grabbed that fund and now they want more. What do we get out of our bottles fees? Commercials that tell us that soda will make us fat. As if no one knew that already. And then it went for the watershed projects so that some people can receive our hard earned money.
on December 9,2013 | 12:55PM
HD36 wrote:
What? Government fraud, abuse and waste? Let me make up for the lost money. SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOU!!
on December 9,2013 | 04:21PM
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