Tobacco funds up in smoke

The $246 billion tobacco settlement was supposed to help fund anti-smoking programs, but most states are using little or none of their windfalls for that purpose and aren’t making up the deficit with other monies either, a Yale researcher has found. The study, authored by Cary P. Gross, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, found that in 2001 states received an average of $28.40 per person from the settlement funds, but dedicated only $3.49 per person to tobacco control programs. Published last fall in The New England Journal of Medicine, the study also found that tobacco control spending was lowest in states with the highest rates of tobacco use. Gross said research has shown that tobacco control programs are highly effective at reducing smoking rates. “What people need to realize is that the decision to use tobacco settlement money for other purposes comes at the cost of human life.”

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Cary Gross

Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)