An anti-smoking group is criticizing Iowa leaders for spending only a fraction of its tobacco settlement money and cigarette taxes on programs that keep kids from smoking or helping adults to quit. Bill Corr, executive vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says Iowa received 156-million dollars last year in settlement money and tax revenues and only spent five-million on prevention, while halving spending to the state’s anti-smoking program.Corr says Iowa’s only spending about five-percent of the money it brings in from cigarette sales and the tobacco settlement money on prevention, which he says is sending the livelihood of future Iowans up in smoke. Corr says tobacco prevention and cessation programs are proven in other states to reduce the number of children who smoke and to bring down health care costs. Without a change, he says there will be generations of young people who become addicted to tobacco. Iowa already has one of the nation’s highest smoking rates among high schoolers of 34-percent, along with nearly 800-million dollars spent in Iowa annually on tobacco-related health care costs. Corr says Iowa leaders are under no obligation to spend the tobacco-settlement money on tobacco prevention. He says when Iowa and other states sued the tobacco industry, they basically promised citizens they were going to solve the problem of tobacco use, and all the disease and death that comes with it. Corr says those Iowa leaders have let down the citizens. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids is putting out a national report on states’ spending of tobacco settlement money along with The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.
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