States are Diverting Tobacco Settlement Funds
February 9, 2000
Anti-tobacco crusaders are seeing their visions of campaigns to cut teenage smoking go up in smoke. A majority of states have channeled their share of funds from the tobacco settlement into other projects.
- Since payments from the $246 billion settlement started rolling in, only eight states have used the funds to start major new anti-smoking initiatives.
- In most states the money has been applied to tax cuts, balanced budgets and school construction.
- The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids organization claims that six states have failed to apply any money whatsoever to tobacco control.
- And trial lawyers have filed new suits in about a dozen states seeking a cut of the settlement for individual Medicaid recipients -- as well as their own legal fees.
States defend their actions, saying the money should be treated like other public funds. They also say that anti-smoking campaigns have not proved worthwhile.
Source: Editorial, "Vigorous Anti-Smoking Vows Fizzle as Funds Go Elsewhere," USA Today, February 9, 2000.
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