Broken Promises, Costly Burden

The new Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids state-by-state report on the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement money has been released for this year.  The report, “Broken Promises to Our Children,” showcases the amount of funds being spent on tobacco prevention and cession programs versus the amount of recommended spending by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to the 2015 report, “states will collect $25.6 billion dollars from the settlement and taxes on tobacco products, but they will spend only 1.9% of it – $490.4 million – on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.”

This year Florida is highlighted as having one of the lowest high school smoking rates in the nation at 7.5%.  Florida also has a “long-running and well-funded tobacco prevention program” that has helped make that low number a reality.  If the current national youth smoking rate of 15.7% could be reduced to Florida’s 7.5% level Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids projects it would

  • Prevent 7 millions kids alive today from becoming adult smokers
  • Save 2.3 million kids from premature smoking-caused deaths
  • Save $122.1 BILLION in future, tobacco-related health care costs

Florida currently ranks 15th in state spending with about $66.6 million going to tobacco prevention.  Last year that figure was $65.6 million.  But even with those seemingly high numbers, the state is only spending 34.3% of the CDC recommended amount of $194.2 million.

While Florida has a low high school smoking rate, about 16.8% of adults still smoke, and 32,300 lose their life every year to tobacco.  The annual health care costs caused by smoking are in the billions – $8.64 billion to be precise, which means every Florida household has a tax burden of $571 due to smoking, whether they smoke or not.

Florida is trying to decrease the amount of smoking, yet the tobacco companies aren’t decreasing their amount of marketing in the sunshine state.  That estimated amount is $562.6 million or roughly $1.541 million A DAY to keep people using tobacco.  In fact, the Broken Promises report states that “tobacco companies spend $18 to market tobacco products for every $1 the states spend to reduce tobacco use.”

Tobacco brings in approximately $1.5 billion dollars in revenue to Florida, but the state pays out $8.64 billion to cover health care costs due to tobacco use. That’s a deficit of $7.14 BILLION every year on a product that is known as the “single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S.”  Surely, the lives of Floridians are worth more.

Click here for the “Broken Promises to Our Children” article.


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