Wisconsin tobacco foes hope to make gains the New Year, with efforts to get more people to quit smoking. Maureen Busalacchi of Smoke-Free Wisconsin says it’s a constant struggle, which would be greatly aided by increasing the funding for smoking prevention and cessation efforts.
The state currently spends about $7 million annually on those efforts. However, Busalacchi says the CDC recommends spending should be closer to about $60 million.
She admits that would be almost impossible for the state to carry through with, based on the over $3 billion budget hole facing Wisconsin right now. However, she says getting back up to funding levels in recent years of about $15 million would be a step in the right direction.
Busalacchi says getting more smokers to kick the habit would help the state save about $2 billion a year in costs for treating tobacco-related illnesses.