Tobacco programs will be protected

Keywords Opinion

With respect to your editorial in the Feb. 1 issue supporting the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency, your intent is
pure and laudable, but I fear you miss the point. The agency manages $10 million, and their budget for administration in Indianapolis
is $1.1 million. The Department of Health performs many of the same functions in parallel with other monies they receive.
Close study shows significant duplication of function.

Most states operate this program through the department of health. Indiana, in its inception, chose to have a stand-alone
agency. Now that the program is a success, we believe this consolidation will bring even a better performance and the ability
to spend more dollars directly on the programs.

The budget bill provided that at least 75 percent of all program dollars must still go to the local programs which have produced
the greatest effectiveness. Dr. [Judith] Monroe, whom IBJ has lauded for her work, is committed to continuance of
the programs for cessation and shared with the General Assembly the fact that she believes this will be a better program for
the change. A number of safeguards are in the statute to insure the proper use of the funds.

__________

Luke Kenley
State senator, R-Noblesville

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