Iowa leaders are being blasted for only spending a small portion of the money the state gets from the tobacco settlement and cigarette taxes on programs to discourage smoking. Peter Fisher is a spokesman for the national group, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Iowa got nearly 150-million dollars in taxes and settlement money this year, and spent only five-million on prevention, or three-point-four percent. Fisher says Iowa actually moved up on this year’s survey, from 34th to 29th in prevention spending, but he says it’s only because other states cut funding, not because Iowa spent more. Fisher says Iowa should spend four times as much. Fisher says the C-D-C recommends Iowa spend at least 19-million on anti-smoking programs, a far cry from the current five-million. He 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. Fisher says the state is not legally obligated to spend more on prevention, but should do so anyway. 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. 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. Fisher says those Iowa leaders have let down the citizens.
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