The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids released their annual report this week on state tobacco control funding and the Master Settlement Agreement. Titled A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later, this report details how much each state spends on tobacco control compared to the recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is an interesting read every year and especially this year to see some of the hard truths about spending on tobacco control including the fact that states decreased funding for tobacco control programs by 12 percent in the past year.
Looking at this report, I can’t help but wonder what it could look like next year and for years to come if California voters pass the California Cancer Research Act (CCRA) next June. Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, has stated, “Next year, California voters can make their state a leader again in the fight against tobacco by approving the California Cancer Research Act.”
First, California would be green, on the map that is. With 20 percent of the CCRA revenues dedicated for tobacco prevention and cessation and with three percent dedicated to tobacco law enforcement, overall tobacco control spending in California would be more than 50 percent of the CDC recommendation. California would join the other six green states that spend at least half of what the CDC recommends.
Second, there could be a green wave. When California led the way with Proposition 99 and the nation’s first comprehensive smokefree workplace law, others states followed. And now with tobacco prevention spending decreasing around the nation, California has the opportunity to buck that trend with CCRA and set a new standard for states around the country to follow.
Finally, with spending numbers going up, smoking prevalence and tobacco disease numbers would go down. Take a look at the California page of the report and look at those six numbers on the right hand side. Those numbers represent the lives of kids in our state and those are the numbers that are going to go down if CCRA is adopted.