As the Great American Smoke Out is today some funding to help people kick the habit is getting snuffed out. Tobacco control programs were slashed last budget by 55-percent.
“It’s important that when we encourage people to quit smoking we give them the tools to actually do so,'” says Bob Meyer, Wisconsin Government Relations Director for American Cancer Society. He understands challenges state lawmakers face with increasing fiscal pressures. However he says the state would save money with fewer people lighting up.
AUDIO: Bob Meyer on long term savings (MP3 :47)
Meyer ranks the tobacco quit line among the most vital of tobacco cessation approaches. The ACS says since the program began in 2001 smoking rates in Wisconsin have substantially declined. Last year the adult smoking rate hit an all time low of 19-percent, which is below the national average.
Federal officials believe Wisconsin is not spending enough. Funding was reduced to just under $7 million this two-year budget while the Centers for Disease Control recommends that badger state spend $64 million dollars a year to adequately combat tobacco use.