HEALTH

Coalition of health groups charge states with not properly funding smoking-cessation programs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Fifteen years after reaching more than $246 billion in legal settlements against the tobacco industry, most states have fallen short of spending a significant portion of the money on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released Monday by a coalition of public health organizations.

The report, titled "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.

According to the report, over the past 15 years states have received $390.8 billion in tobacco-generated revenue – $116.3 billion from the tobacco settlement and $274.5 billion from tobacco taxes. But they have spent only 2.3% of their tobacco money – $8.9 billion – on tobacco prevention programs. This year (fiscal year 2014), the states will collect $25 billion in tobacco revenues, but will spend only 1.9% of it, or $481.2 million, on tobacco prevention programs. While this year’s funding is a slight increase from a year ago, it fails to restore deep cuts that have reduced tobacco prevention funding by a third since 2008, the report noted.

The states currently provide just 13% of the tobacco prevention funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only two states — North Dakota and Alaska — are funding tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level. Only four other states — Delaware, Wyoming, Hawaii and Oklahoma — provide even half the recommended funding. 

The report details scientific evidence that tobacco prevention and cessation programs work. Florida, which has a well-funded, sustained program, recently reported that its high school smoking rate fell to just 8.6% in 2013, far below the national rate. Studies have also found that tobacco prevention programs deliver a strong return on investment. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that Washington state saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent during the first 10 years of its program.

"It is public health malpractice that the states are spending so little on tobacco prevention programs despite having so much evidence that these programs work to save lives and save money," Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said. "To win the fight against tobacco, elected officials at all levels must step up efforts to implement proven solutions, including well-funded tobacco prevention programs."

"This report is a wake-up call to state lawmakers," Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association said. "It is simply unacceptable that such a tiny fraction of tobacco revenue is used for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. With sufficient funding, these programs save lives and money. Moving forward, the American Heart Association will continue to push for full funding of these programs in all states."

The full report and state-specific information are available at TobaccoFreeKids.org/reports/settlements.

 

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Reckitt Benckiser launches Lysol-branded family health resource site

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Reckitt Benckiser in support of its Lysol brand on Monday launched the site "Looking After You and Your Family" as part of the Family Health Series.

The strategic partnership tapped Education Marketing Specialists, CarrotNewYork, to develop a one-stop, content-rich website. “’Looking After You and Your Family’ provides topical and timely health information from trusted industry leaders in a digest-style format that is easy to navigate,” Tom Bach, manager professional relations, Reckitt Benckiser said. 

The website covers the spectrum of life stages from pregnancy through the school years, and offers sections on a healthy home, immunization and emergency preparedness. A resources section offers those who wish to conduct additional research a vetted collection of health resources divided by topic.  

 

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Report: Dietary supplements utilized as preventive health care can save health system tens of billions of dollars

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Thursday released a report finding that dietary supplementation can save the healthcare system tens of billions over the next decade. 

The report demonstrated that supplementation at preventive intake levels in high-risk populations can reduce the number of medical events associated with heart disease, age-related eye disease, diabetes and bone disease in the United States, representing the potential for significant cost savings.

“This report reiterates what the dietary supplement industry has advocated for over the last several decades,” John Shaw, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association said. “Nutritional supplements proactively contribute to the overall health and well-being of American consumers. But as we can see from this data, the benefits of supplementation are much more far-reaching, with the entire health care system seeing positive results from this common-sense approach to staying healthy.”

“Chronic diseases are one of the greatest contributors to health care costs in this country,” commented Steve Mister, CRN president. “If we can identify and motivate those at risk to effectively use dietary supplements, we can control rising societal health care costs, but also give sick individuals a chance to reduce the risk of costly events and, most importantly, to improve their quality of life.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of total health care expenses are spent on caring for people with preventable diseases, with only 3% spent on prevention. Between 2013 and 2020, the number of people with preventable diseases is likely to increase, as projected by the report. For instance, the number of U.S. adults over the age of 55 with coronary heart disease is expected to rise 13%. However, if these same U.S. adults with CHD take phytosterol dietary supplements at preventive intake levels, the risk of having a CHD-related medical event can be reduced by 11.2%, saving the system $26.6 billion over the next seven years.

The report, “Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” was presented by Mister at the latest educational briefing held for Capitol Hill staff week by the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus. 

In addition to CRN and NPA, the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance are members of the CDSC.

The full Frost & Sullivan economic report is available for free at www.supplementforsmartprevention.org.

 

 

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