Vermont ranks 10th in protecting kids from tobacco

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Vermont ranks 10th in protecting kids from tobacco

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 6:34am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont ranks 10th nationwide in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released last week by a coalition of public health organizations. However, Vermont is spending just $3.4 million this year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is only 40.2 percent of the $8.4 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use – the nation's No. 1 cause of preventable death – and help make the next generation tobacco-free. In Vermont, 10.8 percent of high school students still smoke, and 200 kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco use claims 1,000 Vermont lives and costs the state $348 million in health care bills annually.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Vermont will collect $117.6 million in revenue this year from the 1998 state tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 2.9 percent of the money on tobacco prevention programs.
  • Tobacco companies spend over $17 million each year to market their deadly and addictive products in Vermont – five times what the state spends on tobacco prevention. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year on marketing – more than $1 million every hour.

The report, titled "Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 18 Years Later," was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and Truth Initiative.

Vermont has implemented several strong measures to reduce tobacco use, including the sixth highest state cigarette tax in the country ($3.08 per pack), a comprehensive smoke-free law and effective tobacco prevention and cessation programs, but it is still providing just 40 percent of the CDC-recommended funding for such programs. Vermont has reduced its high school smoking rate by more than two-thirds since 1999 (from 33.4 percent to 10.8 percent). In addition to seeking additional funding for tobacco prevention, health advocates are urging Vermont leaders to raise the legal sale age of tobacco products to 21.

"Because of the tremendous progress our country – and states like Vermont – have made in reducing smoking, it is within our reach to win the fight against tobacco and make the next generation tobacco-free," said Matthew L Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Vermont should keep doing everything it can to protect kids from tobacco by increasing funding for tobacco prevention and raising the tobacco age to 21."

  FY2017 FY2016
State Ranking 10 10
State Spending on Tobacco Prevention $3.4 million $3.7 million
Percent of CDC Recommended Spending ($8.4 million) 40.2% 44.0%
Vermont's Tobacco Revenue, CDC Recommended Spending, State Spending and Tobacco Industry Marketing

Total State TobaccoRevenueCDC RecommendedSpendingTotal State SpendingEstimated AnnualTobacco CompanyMarketing in State$0 million$30 million$60 million$90 million$120 million$117.6 million$117.6 million$8.4 million$8.4 million$3.4 million$3.4 million$17.2 million$17.2 million

Total State Tobacco Revenue $117.6 million
CDC Recommended Spending $8.4 million
Total State Spending $3.4 million
Estimated Annual Tobacco Company Marketing in State $17.2 million
Tobacco's Toll in Vermont

(Updated Nov 1, 2016)

Adults who smoke 16.0%
High school students who smoke 10.8%
Death caused by smoking each year 1,000
Annual health care costs directly caused by smoking $348 million
Proportion of cancer deaths attributable to smoking 28.1%
Residents' state and federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures $871 per household
Estimated annual tobacco industry marketing in state $17.2 million
Ratio of industry marketing to state tobacco prevention spending 5.1 to 1

Nationwide, the US has cut smoking rates to record lows – 15.1 percent among adults and 10.8 percent among high school students in 2015. If recent progress in reducing adult smoking continues, the U.S. could eliminate smoking by around 2035, according to a recent analysis in The New England Journal of Medicine.

By funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the CDC's recommended levels, the states can help achieve this goal. But today's report finds most states are falling far short:

  • The states will collect $26.6 billion this year from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend less than 2 percent of it ($491.6 million) on tobacco prevention programs.
  • The $491.6 million that the states have budgeted for tobacco prevention is a small fraction of the $3.3 billion the CDC recommends. Only two states – North Dakota and Alaska – fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels.
  • States with well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention programs have seen remarkable progress. Florida, with one of the longest-running programs, reduced its high school smoking rate to 5.2 percent this year, one of the lowest rates ever reported by any state. One study found that during the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, the state of Washington saved more than $5 in health care costs for every $1 spent on the program.

Each year in the US, tobacco use kills more than 480,000 people and costs the nation at least $170 billion in health care expenses.

The report and state-specific information can be found at

SOURCE WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids