Report ranks Missouri 48th in spending on tobacco use prevention

9 months 1 day 28 minutes ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 8:08:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
By: Spencer Humphrey, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

WASHINGTON - A new report released Friday ranks Missouri 48th in the nation for tobacco use prevention programs.

The report, assembled by several public health advocacy groups, says Missouri is spending $48,500 this year for tobacco prevention programs to stop children from smoking and help smokers quit. That's about 0.1 percent of the $72.9 recommended by the Centers for Disease control. 

The report, "Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 20 Years Later," was written as a collaboration between the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and Truth Initiative.

In the report, the groups ask states to allocate more resources to fight tobacco use, which they say is the nation's No. 1 cause of death. The report also urges states to combat the growing use of electronic cigarettes among youth. 

A major finding in the report says Missouri aims to collect $258.9 billion in revenue from a 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes this year alone. However, the state only plans to spend a tiny fraction of that revenue on programs preventing tobacco use. 

The report says tobacco companies spend $364.9 million on marketing their products in Missouri each year.

The report attributes the rise in youth-cigarette use to the popularity of Juul, which it describes as "a sleek, easy-to-hide cigarette that is sold in sweet flavors and delivers a powerful dose of nicotine."

It also says cigarette use among high school students increased by 78 percent this year. In total, the report says more than 3.6 million middle and high school students use cigarettes, an increase of 1.5 million from the year before. 

State-specific information about tobacco-use prevention can be found online.

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