ACS - NH Has Second Chance to Keep Kids From Smoking

State Receives $47 Million Today From the Master Settlement Agreement

Ten years ago, the state tobacco settlement – and the millions of dollars in revenue it provides each year– presented New Hampshire with an unprecedented opportunity to attack the enormous public health problem posed by tobacco use. Unfortunately, New Hampshire, along with many other states, has squandered this opportunity and failed to use the settlement money to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at even the minimum levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Today, New Hampshire has a second chance to keep the promise of the tobacco settlement and adequately fund programs to prevent kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit.

As a party to the 1998 tobacco settlement (the Master Settlement Agreement), New Hampshire will receive a "bonus settlement payment" of about $7 million dollars per year, increasing the state’s total payment to $47 million this year. The bonus payments are mandated by the terms of the settlement and will continue for at least 10 years.

According to Peter Ames, Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for the American Cancer Society in New Hampshire, “We have no excuse for failing to use our tobacco revenue to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.”

New Hampshire had allocated $1.3million for tobacco prevention through the New Hampshire Cancer Plan this year, but Governor Lynch’s recent budget cuts reduced that amount by 88%.The fate of $2.6 million in FY09 tobacco prevention money is still unclear.

“It’s obscene that New Hampshire receives over $200 million per year from the tobacco settlement and cigarette taxes combined and fails to spend even 1% of that on protecting the next generation of potential smokers,” said Ames.

Tobacco use remains the nation's leading preventable cause of death, killing more than 400,000 people and costing the nation more than $96 billion in health care bills each year, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. In New Hampshire, 1,800 people die from tobacco each year and the state spends more than $560 million annually on tobacco-related health costs.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.  Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit