A report by the coalition for public health ranks the amount of money Iowa spends on preventing youth smoking is 25th nationwide. Sandra Quilty of the Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society says the ranking shows Iowa is heading in the right direction.

Quilty says the ranking also shows the state has a lot to do. Quilty says the six-point-five million dollars the state spends on tobacco prevention and control is still a “far cry” from what they should be spending according to the C-D-C. Quilty, the government relations director for the Iowa A-C-S, says the amount Iowa spends is at least one-third below what is recommended.

Quilty says right now it’s recommended that the state be spending some 19-million dollars on prevention, and Quilty says those figures will likely be updated to show Iowa should spend 30 million dollars. Quilty says the money to keep kids from smoking is vital.

Quilty says the state really needs to work harder to make youth understand “this is not a deadly habit they want to take on.” She says the more the state can spend on doing that, they better off we are. Quilty says there’s hope that an increase in the cigarette tax will pass in the legislature, and that money will replace tobacco settlement money that’s been taken away from tobacco prevention efforts.

Quilty says they’re encouraged by the new leadership in the legislature and the new governor, that the cigarette tax increase will happen. Quilty says they also hope some changes in the tobacco settlement agreement will also bring in some additional funding that can be used for prevention programs.