The Presidents/CEOs of four major voluntary health organizations released a report today showing that New Hampshire and the other New England states are not keeping their promise to use a significant portion of funds from the 1998 state tobacco settlement to reduce tobacco’s toll on the states’ children, families and communities. They have also called on the states to live up to their promises to use their tobacco settlement money on tobacco control, and signed a “Resolution” that will be sent to all New England governors, Senate presidents, and House speakers.
The report, titled, “SHORT CHANGED: BROKEN PROMISES ON TOBACCO CONTROL PLACE MILLIONS OF KIDS ACROSS NEW ENGLAND AT RISK FOR ADDICTION AND EARLY DEATH,” is being released two days before New Hampshire receives its next round of multi-million dollar payments from the settlement, currently projected at $48 million. The report was compiled by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Key findings of the report include:
This year, New Hampshire will collect over $205 million in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend none of it on tobacco prevention programs.
Tobacco use costs New Hampshire $564 million a year in health care costs related to tobacco-caused illnesses.
The annual state & federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures is $628 per New Hampshire resident.
“There is no greater return on investment than from investing in tobacco use prevention. With so much of our health care costs due to smoking related diseases, there are serious consequences to doing nothing to prevent smoking and to not helping the majority of smokers who want to quit,” said Susan Martore-Baker, Chair for the American Lung Association of New Hampshire.
Tobacco remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death, killing more than 1,700 annually in New Hampshire alone. Today in New Hampshire, more than 19.4% of adults and 19% of high school students are smokers and 1 in 5 women of childbearing age smoke, leading to poor birth outcomes. In addition, more than 1,800 kids become daily smokers each year. In fact, 31,000 kids alive today in New Hampshire will ultimately die prematurely from the effects of smoking.