Fifteen years after the $246 billion tobacco legal settlements were reached most states are not spending much on tobacco cessation, U.S. researchers say.
Tobacco use is the top cause of preventable U.S. death, killing more than 400,000 Americans and costing the nation $96 billion in healthcare bills each year and most states involved in the settlements promised a significant portion of the money would be spent on programs to prevent children and teens from smoking and help smokers quit.
The report, entitled "Broken Promises to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 15 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights said the states lied.
Over the past 15 years, the states received $391 billion in tobacco-generated revenue -- $116.3 billion from the tobacco settlement and $274.5 billion from tobacco taxes. However, they spent only 2.3 percent of their tobacco money, or $8.9 billion, on tobacco prevention programs, the report said.