MADISON(WKOW) -- Wisconsin ranks 30th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released Thursday by a coalition of public health organizations.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says Wisconsin currently spends $5.3 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 8.2 percent of the $64.3 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funding remains unchanged from last year, but represents a 65% drop in funding since 2009.
The Campaign says Wisconsin will collect a combined $718 million in revenue from tobacco taxes and the 1998 tobacco settlement, meaning Wisconsin is spending less than a penny out of every dollar it collects from tobacco revenue on efforts to fight tobacco use.
However, the Campaign points out Wisconsin has been a leader in the fight against tobacco with a cigarette tax of $2.52 per pack, a strong smoke-free workplace law and its tobacco prevention and cessation program.
"Wisconsin has made tremendous progress in the fight against tobacco. But the state's gains are at risk unless it restores funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.