Tobacco Settlement Feud

9 years 6 months 1 day ago March 28, 2007 Mar 28, 2007 Wednesday, March 28 2007 Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:46:28 PM CDT in News

"The bad part about that is we have not spent one red cent of that on tobacco cessation for kids and the fact that Missouri now has a higher teen smoking rate than we do as adults once again shows if we would step forward like other states and gone after that, that we wouldn't be having the significant health problems that we have now," said Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon


Nixon said there's proof that spending money to stop or prevent is effective.

"The fact that Missouri spent zero, other states have spent money and have seen drops in their youth smoking," he explained. "It's clear to us that, if we did put the money in that area, we'd see fewer children smoking."

Advocacy groups like Smoke-Free Air for Everyone are also fuming about the state's efforts.

"Until we start spending some of our master settlement fund money to help reduce the smoking rate, and we're not doing that, it's irresponsible and the citizens of Missouri should be outraged," said Dean Andersen SAFE co-chairman.

Nixon hopes the state will change.

"Hopefully, as we look in the rearview mirror at what we've done with the first billion," he said, "we won't make that mistake as we move forward in Missouri, trying to cut down on teen smoking."

The state has not decided how much money it will spend to help stop or prevent smoking. Missouri's youth smoking rate is 30%, while the adult smoking rate is about 26%.

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