NASHVILLE, TN – Even as tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and youth e-cigarette use remains at high levels, a new report highlights how too many states continue to shortchange programs designed to prevent kids from using tobacco products and help tobacco users quit – with Tennessee ranking amongst the top 5 of states doing so.
This year (fiscal year 2023), Tennessee will collect $406 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes but spend just 2.6% –$2 million – on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
“Smoking now directly causes an overwhelming $3.10 billion in health care costs annually in Tennessee,” noted ACS CAN Government Relations Director Maddie Bushnell. “It’s time that our leaders make an investment in prevention programs that is proportional to the massive toll tobacco products take on our families, our communities and our economy by investing in Tennessee’s woefully underfunded tobacco prevention and cessation programs to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help those already addicted to quit.”
The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use, save lives and stop tobacco companies from addicting a new generation of kids.
The report – “Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement” – was released Friday by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative. These organizations have issued annual reports since the November 1998 landmark legal settlement between 46 states and the major tobacco companies, which – along with individual settlements with four other states – required the companies to pay more than $246 billion over time as compensation for tobacco-related health care costs.
View the full report, including state-specific data on tobacco’s wide burden in Tennessee and a full ranking of states online at https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what-we-do/us/statereport/.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone.
Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.