It’s been a decade since the landmark national tobacco settlement and a study finds, ten years later, none of the states spend the recommended amount on anti-smoking programs. Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at Tobacco-Free Kids, says Iowa’s in the middle of the pack.
McGoldrick says: “Iowa ranks 21st this year in our report in terms of spending on tobacco prevention. They’re spending about 11-million dollars a year, which is a good, solid investment, but still less than a third of what the C.D.C. recommendation is, which is 36-million.”
Under terms of the agreement, the states are splitting 246-billion dollars over 25 years. Mc Goldrick explains Iowa’s annual share.”Iowa receives about 311-million dollars each year from its tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes,” McGoldrick says. “Iowa’s done some great things with its program, investing in the JEL (Just Eliminate Lies) program, the youth program. Kids delivers that message to each other rather than hearing it from and adult and hearing it as a lecture and running off and doing exactly the opposite thing.”
He says Iowa’s seen a drop in the number of smokers over the past decade, yet he says more should be done to keep kids from lighting up. McGoldrick says: “Adult smoking in Iowa is at about 20%, which is close to the national average. High school students — it’s at about 18.9%, so the investment that Iowa has made has resulted in some declines in smoking, but we can do a whole lot better following the guidelines of the C.D.C. both in terms of the budget but also the program elements.”
He says Iowa will see about 4,500 deaths from tobacco-related illnesses this year, while those illnesses will cost about a billion-dollars in terms of health care. For more information visit the Tobacco Free Kids website .