Idaho ranks 26th in the nation for funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a new report from a coalition of public health organizations. The report, “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 15 Years Later,” says Idaho spends $2.2 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, just 2.8 percent of the $77.3 million it’s collecting this year from the nationwide tobacco settlement and from cigarette taxes. However, other states fared worse; nationally, states are spending just 1.9 percent of their tobacco settlement proceeds and taxes on prevention and cessation.
The report also noted that Idaho’s 57 cents-per-pack cigarette tax ranks 42nd in the nation; the current average among states is $1.53 per pack. Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said, “To protect kids from tobacco, Idaho should significantly raise its tobacco tax and increase funding for tobacco prevention. States are being truly penny-wise and pound-foolish when they shortchange these programs.”
The report estimated that tobacco companies spend $42.9 million a year to market their products in Idaho, 20 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention. The report says 14.3 percent of Idaho high school students smoke; nationally, that figure is 18.1 percent. Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S.; you can see the full report here.