LOUISVILLE, Ky, January 19, 2021 - A new report released at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a continuing youth e-cigarette epidemic - both of which severely threaten the respiratory and overall health of Kentuckians - finds that Kentucky ranks 39th among states in funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs. This fiscal year, Kentucky budgeted $2 million, a 40 percent cut from last year and a small fraction of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for this work. Following is a statement from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
"Kentucky spends just 3.5 percent of what the CDC recommends on prevention and cessation," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "Meanwhile, the tobacco industry spends more than $274 million marketing their products in Kentucky, which means they outspend us 1,387 to one. These programs are cost effective. One study showed that every dollar spent on cessation programs for persons on Medicaid returns $3 in savings. Further, the U.S. Surgeon General found that school-based tobacco prevention programs could reduce or postpone smoking among youth by 20 percent to 40 percent. We know the state budget is very tight, and we understand that the current year's budget process was cut short by the pandemic. This year, we urge budget conference committee members to consider the significant cost savings of tobacco prevention and cessation programs."
Here is the Kentucky State Fact Sheet.
This report is issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $29 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth