State's top anti-smoking agency could be abolished

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A state budget proposal before the Indiana Senate could snuff out the state’s top anti-tobacco agency.

The two-year, $28 billion spending plan that would take effect July 1 calls for the abolishment of the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency and places tobacco-cessation efforts under control of the state Department of Health.

The program’s budget also would be slashed from the $9.2 million it received in fiscal 2010 to roughly $5 million.

Created in 2001, ITPC is funded by some of the $4.5 billion Indiana received from the tobacco industry’s 1998 settlement with state attorneys general.

“This was a major settlement that was won years ago and the money was supposed to go to tobacco prevention, and clearly that is not happening,” said Amanda Estridge, Indiana spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society’s Great Lakes Division.

Top Senate Republicans were in caucus Wednesday morning and could not be reached for comment.

Indiana’s tobacco-cessation program won praise early on from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for being among the few state programs that actually spent at least the minimum amount the CDC said was needed to effectively fight tobacco use. That funding reached a high of $32.8 million in 2003.

Rep. Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington and a member of the State Budget Committee, told Associated Press that ITPC receives less state money because the millions of dollars of additional funding it formerly received were “low hanging fruit” when budget writers were looking for programs to cut.

“We have a hard time in this state investing money now for its long-term gains,” Welch told AP. “It’s going to save us money in the long run, but we’re not willing to make that investment now.”

State lawmakers have failed to pass a statewide ban on smoking in public places, but more than 30 communities—including Franklin, Plainfield and Zionsville in the Indianapolis area—have passed smoke-free air ordinances.

ITPC says it has helped cut smoking rates of adult Hoosiers from 31.6 percent in 2001 to 23.1 percent in 2009, and from 27.4 percent to 18.3 percent for the state’s youth.

The agency employees 12 people, including Karla Sneegas, who has served as its executive director since its inception. Sneegas was unavailable for comment. 

Estridge said she was worried that several of those working in the program would lose their jobs if the budget proposal passes.

An Indiana Senate committee on Monday approved the spending plan. If the full Senate approves the bill, it will return to the House for consideration. The Legislature is set to convene on April 29.


  • RE; Smoking causes cancer. No question
    I don't believe 100% cancer is caused by smoking, maybe for some who are prone to cancer. I've smoked 30 years and i go visit my doctor every 6 months HEY, guess what... NO CANCER mmmmm "IF" smoking causes cancer then wheres mine? FOR ALL YOU Non smokers, yes we know smoking is bad and causes a lot of different things but theres one thing you are missing that is STAY out of our business. It's not your job or right to tell me it's bad or i can't smoke. Would you want me to come knocking on your door and tell you that you can't do something? Just back off, we know we know we know just get a life and leave ours alone. And NO the NO SMOKING Advertising does not work it's a waste of money. How many commerical's do you watch and say oh i need to go buy that? Do you really believe no smoking advertising works, lol in your face.
  • critical science
    SWB...Hallelulja i can se the glory is shinning over your head....sorry but I dont buy your story!
    Where do the Health groups get their numbers of smokers who have quit from? Do you believe smokers will tell the truth that they have given up since the ban- Nope! they disapear from public and smoke at home.Dig your materiale and you will find that Big Pharma has a huge interest in the no smoking campaign. Cancer is genetic - it's a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Re: SWB
    That couldnâ??t have been written any better than if it was written by a rabid, bigoted antismoker. Cut the propaganda. Weâ??ve already heard 30 years too much of it.

    â??Even alcohol has medicinal purposes, but smoking, nada.â??

    Thatâ??s not correct. There are benefits in smoking. There are long-term risks. But there are benefits, too. A meta-analysis of a good number of recent studies demonstrates a very significant cognitive enhancement from nicotine. And this is just nicotine. There are other aspects of smoking that are beneficial, e.g., psychological, behavioral, perceptual.

    â??I was enslaved by this addiction.â??

    Thatâ??s not correct either. Even the Royal College of Physicians, a group that has been committed to antismoking since the early 1960s, has had to concede that the idea of â??nicotine addictionâ?? makes no sense. (see p.45, 2007)
    The latest that smoking is a habit, not an addiction:

  • Some Indiana History
    Indiana was one of the very first states to introduce a ban on cigarettes in1905. People were fined/jailed for even being in possession of cigarette papers. Indiana was also the very first state to introduce eugenics sterilization laws in 1907. By the time of Prohibition, there were 22 states that had sterilization laws and quite a number of states had introduced and already repealed bans on tobacco. In the decade following Prohibition, another 11 states introduced sterilization laws. There was a renewed attempt to ban tobacco, but only two states introduced bans â?? Utah and Kansas. Kansas was the last to repeal its anti-tobacco law in 1927. All of this was long before even the pretense of a â??scientific basisâ?? or the conjured idea of secondhand smoke â??dangerâ??.

    The point being made is that the above was the â??done thingâ??. Eugenics was viewed as â??progressiveâ??, â??scientificâ??, and â??scholarlyâ??, and embraced by the mega-wealthy and the â??educatedâ??. There were constant eugenics affirmations that sterilizations and bans on tobacco and alcohol would all but eliminate disease, crime, and poverty. Itâ??s called a bandwagon effect. How bans got instituted was elitist fanatics making all sorts of outrageous, erroneous, inflammatory claims about tobacco, alcohol, and particular racial and social groups that whipped the public up into a bigotry/racist frenzy.

    There are many similarities with what is occurring with anti-smoking at this time. Itâ??s being portrayed as â??progressiveâ?? â?? look, other states are doing it, why arenâ??t we. There are the same claims that all sorts of diseases are going to magically disappear. Numerous claims are made to appear â??scientificâ??, whereas they are carefully crafted propaganda for maximal inflammatory effect. What we actually have is another bigotry frenzy.
    And it again involves the medical establishment that has an horrific track-record when it foolishly ventures into social-engineering, weâ??re-going-to-fix-up-the-world crusades.

  • Addiction?
    What about those addicted to bigotry, the constant fueling of hate and fake superiority?
  • Helping nictine addicts break free and protecting others
    I smoked for 25 years and was addicted to nicotine. As with any addict, the more my habit was accommodated, the more I indulged. And, I didn't care how it affected anyone else, even my own loved ones. When smoking stopped being allowed everywhere, I had to work harder at feeding my habit. One day, it was -3 below zero and I had to have a cigarette and I had to go outside to smoke it. I stood there puffing with smoke billowing around me and it finally dawned on me how foolish this was and what a waste of time and I wondered was there any good to it. Even alcohol has medicinal purposes, but smoking, nada. I was enslaved by this addiction. I didn't like that. I quit...not without some effort, mind you. But thanks to those who made it so hard for me to keep smoking, I was finally able to break free from nicotine addiction. As long as addicts are enabled, they will feed the addiction. Please keep passing laws and providing funding to help them break free and to protect others.
  • About Amanda

    Regarding your comment, you have no one to blame but Amanda Estridge quoted in the article. She's the one who insisted on the Lame-brained, bone-headed all or nothing legislative strategy that resulted in walking away from a 95% ban,including one for 100% of the areas where minors might gather. It's too bad the bill can't get rid of Amanda Estridge.
  • Smoking causes cancer. No question.
    I don't know where you have been for the past 20 years, but smoking most definitely does cause cancer. Tobacco companies ceded that years ago and they even print it on the side of the box.

    I feel bad that you are so skeptical of the real world that you can honestly believe that smoking does not cause cancer. Maybe you do know it but you are just in denial. Either way, take about 5 minutes and do some objective research.

    Try to stick to scholarly articles, not conspiracy websites.


    • As Ed's comments prove...
      Smokers = drug addicts with an entitlement complex. What other drug addicts expect the non-addicted to accommodate them?
    • about time
      I'm still waiting on cold hard medical PROOF that cigarette smoke causes all these cancers. Other than "they smoked and had cancer therefore smoking caused it."
      I think it's great that the agency that has had it "nose" stuck in every smoker's business might lose it's funding......poetic justice at it's best!!
    • catch-up Indiana
      our state's 2008 smoking rates were 2nd highest in the U.S...

      the legislature has been unable to pass a comprehensive smoking ban despite evidence suggesting the economic impact is minimal...

      the medical & public health community have clearly established the increased risk of death & disease (heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and chronic lung disease to name a few) from both first-hand and second-hand smoke? (so we are unnecessarily exposing our fellow citizens, and workers to increased health risks)...

      where is the statesmanship? where is the sensible policy-making?...on behalf of citizens...WAKE-UP INDIANA

      and by the way, how much is the tobacco lobby spending in the Statehouse? for shame.
    • it IS about money and smoke and mirrors
      the money received from the settlement has been paid out, programs have lowered smiking rates across the state, and in just the last two years a push for the statewide ban has picked up considerable support.
      from this article: â??This was a major settlement that was won years ago and the money was supposed to go to tobacco prevention, and clearly that is not happening,â?? said Amanda Estridge, Indiana spokeswoman for the American Cancer Societyâ??s Great Lakes Division.

      i'm pretty sure that means money has been used in a less than desireable way. plus, who needs the government telling us whats good and bad for us? let the free market determine what americans can consume and the insurance companies keep us healthy.
    • What???
      They aren't losing money by taxing tobacco, and ITPC money doesn't come from taxes get your story straight.
    • Backward State
      Another indication of how backward Indiana is beconming. To save a buck, and protect the toacco lobby we encourage cancer.
      A smoking ban would have been good to, but no, nothiong that progressive here
    • Short-sighted decision
      I agree 100% Michelle. ITPC's depth and impact on our communities is substantial. Beyond the hundreds of jobs that will be lost statewide, all progress made by ITPC will come to a halt.
    • It will be a sad day
      Sacrificing meaningful jobs to perpetuate cancer and ignorance would be a huge step in the wrong direction for our city.
    • Money
      Of course. they are starting to realize how much money they are losing by taxing tobacco products. Considering our state is going broke like the rest of the country they gotta find every penny they can, and this is alot of money that is not going to change a smokers mind. Sad but true.
      • Not surprised
        Abolishing ITPC and merging into the Dept. of Health is an idea that was introduced during last year's session.

        Someone is carrying the water for this bill to make it a reality. That said, in a long session/budget year, the odds of this passing are probably pretty good. And, its effects will linger long after the smoke clears.
      • This needs a close look
        Indianapolis and the state of Indiana are well behind the rest of the country in the spoke-free arena. Reducing the number of young people who start smoking will save employers and the state millions of dollars in lower health care and loss work days. Further, the "price to smoke" is significant. People who don't smoke can afford better cars and other items, that help businesses in the state grow. Prevention and cessation is a very big deal.
      • Unemployment for 100+
        This story says ITPC employs 12 people, which is not correct! ITPC employs well over 100 people in Indiana. Each county that is a grantee employs at least one person to run prevention and cessation programing. Many of these coordinators work with Headstart families to educate them on smoking related health issues,they work with local health care providers to aid their patients to quit tobacco use, they go into schools and aid the teachers with the tobacco education and prevention efforts. This is not just about 12 positions , this is about much more than that, it's about jobs and lives and the amount of money that ITPC will save the state in Health care in the future.
        • ITPC Article

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