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Anti-smoking officials say Indiana funding cuts hurt

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A decision to cut state funding by 38 percent for programs that help people stop smoking and try to prevent others from starting worries those behind the state's tobacco cessation efforts, who say it will mean more smokers and higher health care costs.

Dr. Stephen Jay, a professor of medicine and public health at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said health experts around the state couldn't believe the Republican-controlled Legislature reached an agreement Thursday to cut spending from $8 million this year to $5 million for fiscal 2014. The Legislature was poised to vote on the budget Friday.

"We are stunned," Jay said. "Because we have excellent data that it's a smart business decision to fund, actually to expand funding, for tobacco control. For every buck you put in, it's $30 to $60-plus that you save. So when you cut funding, what in effect you are doing is assuring that tobacco-use rates are going to go up, exposure to second-hand smoke is going to go up, cost for health-care is going to go up, business costs are going to go up and the people who suffer are taxpayers," he said. "So in effect, this is a tax increase on the state of Indiana."

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and throughout the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A study recently released by Ball State University, Burden of Adult Smoking in Indiana, found that 25.6 percent of the adult population of Indiana, or about 1.25 million, are smokers, giving the state the nation's seventh-highest percentage of smokers. It also found that and 57.5 percent of smokers in Indiana said in 2010 they tried to quit for at least one day.

The report also found that the health care and other economic costs for smokers in Indiana was $4.7 billion in 2010.

Democratic lawmakers said they couldn't understand the cuts.

"I think it's short-sighted," said Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson. "It was an uphill battle already."

Rep. Greg Porter, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he expects to see an increase in the numbers of smokers.

"Community-based programs are the best way to address this," he said.

Lindsay Grace, coordinator of Tobacco Free Indiana, said she couldn't believe a program that helps people end an unhealthy habit was targeted for such a severe cut.

"It's not right. The program is already under-funded at $8 million," she said. "They're cutting it for no good reason."

The CDC found that states will collect $25.7 billion from tobacco taxes and legal settlements, but spend less than 2 percent of the $25.7 billion on tobacco control programs. A report put out in December by the Cancer Society, American Lung Association and other groups ranked Indiana 26th in the nation in spending on programs to help smokers quit and to keep youths from starting, but said the state was spending just 12 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Indiana spend on the effort.

Jay said programs around the state were underfunded at $8 million.

"With a cut from $8 million to $5 million, it's going to effectively kill state-of-the-art anti-tobacco efforts in Indiana," he said. "It's a great tragedy."

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  • Free Cell Phones
    Didn't all the smokers get "free" cell phones from the state, too? Even after we heard about it and voiced opposition to it, they still got their phone bills paid on the taxpayer dime!
  • Good Work not supported
    It is sad to see that the tobacco lobby in Indiana has again worked to undermine the work of public health and community organizations dedicated to helping Hoosiers quit smoking and preventing youth from starting to smoke. These dollars go to real programs that really do help the people of Indiana. ACA, ALA and AHA do not get dollars from these funds, they are distributed from the IN State Health Department to local health departments and organizations under a structured and supported program. By cutting dollars, the state is putting less money into the community for cessation and prevention programming resulting in higher smoking rates for both adults and youth in Indiana. It is a shame that the legislature cares more about the money provided by the tobacco lobby than it does us Hooiser citizens.
  • no smoke=clean air
    If no one smoked the air would be cleaner, especially in homes where kids have to breathe the smoke. This would equal fewer trips to the emergency rooms, less money spent overall and healthier children. I'm ALL for no smoking. Tobacco companies are despicable!!!
  • stealth lobbying
    I looked at the links! So that's what these very profitable "non profits" are up to! I am boycotting ALL of them AND the drug company that sells the patches and gums! They spend donations on fat paychecks and lobbying and use a pittance to "find a cure"! They can kiss my butt!
  • Why don't the ACS & ALA fund tobacco control?
    Isn't that why they get tax exempt status? The ACS generated over $9,000,000 in just one year off of quitlines. In fact, in Indiana Alere Wellbeing has the state contract for the quitline. Alere is partners with the ACS and they pay the ACS to use their Quit For Life program so of COURSE the ACS wants more money for tobacco control! It's designed to get more people to call the quitline. Then you've got the American Lung Association getting ObamaCare money to LOBBY FOR anti-tobacco legislation, which is ILLEGAL!!! Of course funding needs to be cut! It's all ABOUT these profitable "non" profits making more money. And where's the "cure in my lifetime"? The ACS has raked in billions since 1946. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:QRFqLOo-ZAUJ:www.lung.org/press-room/press-releases/american-lung-communities.html+federal+grant%2Bamerican+lung+association&hl=en≷=us≺md=imvns&strip=1
    • pharma money
      Since you are promoting the use of Johnson and Johnson patches and gums, Doc, just get the money you need to market their products from them! The government is not supposed to be the marketing arm of pharma. Especially since their products don't work!
    • But you said
      that the statewide smoking ban would cure all this. Now you say you want more money because what you did isn't working? I'm saying this "doctor" and his onions in tobacco control are just a bunch of grant sponging moochers. They don't want people to stop smoking as that would cause THEIR bottom line to crash!
    • Good
      They have not moved the dial on smoking at all.They could have done good work, but they were too interested in handing out contracts to their personal friends..you can see what that got them,Glad their funds are being cut..what a waste.

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