Wisconsin ranks in the bottom third in the nation when in comes to funding tobacco control programs.
A new report estimates Wisconsin will collect record amounts of tobacco revenue next year, while cessation programs suffer with record budget cuts. It’s estimated the state will generate more than $661-million in tobacco tax revenue next year, but only spending $8-million in tobacco control and prevention.
Bob Meyer, Wisconsin Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society, reminds us that funding toward tobacco cessation programs had been cut by 55% in the budget.
According to the report, even traditional tobacco states like Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia fund such programs more than Wisconsin.
Smoking rates in Wisconsin have substantially declined since the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line began in 2001, with an all-time low adult smoking rate last year of 19%. Yet, Meyer warns this progress is at risk because tobacco companies spend 20 times more on marketing than the state spends on prevention.
According to the report, there are roughly $2.2 billion dollars in health care costs each year in Wisconsin and more than 8,000 tobacco-related deaths. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
The report was issued by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and a coalition of other major health organizations.
Jackie Johnson 1:30