Colorado to receive $2.6 billion in tobacco settlement
U-WIRE) FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The money is rolling in. The tobacco companies that negotiated a settlement of $206 billion with 46 states in 1999 have made their first payment to Colorado.
Healthy: Inside and Out, a student-led tobacco education program based out of the Hartshorn Health Center, will be the first program on campus to receive money from the settlement. According to Kate McBride, the current program coordinator and a sophomore psychology student, Healthy: Inside and Out has student volunteers present anti-smoking materials to middle and high school students in Larimer County. Last semester, the group did about 50 presentations and has become part of the curriculum at Rocky Mountain High School, McBride said.
"I love doing (presentations) in front of seventh and eighth graders," she said. "It's so rewarding to know that I touched these kids."
According to Nancy Grove, health educator at the Larimer County Health Department, the settlement money will enable the program to hire another work-study student to provide training for volunteers. Currently, Healthy: Inside and Out has two work-study positions, a program coordinator and a scheduling coordinator. This year, $11.4 million, or 15 percent of the 2000 funds, will be dedicated to tobacco education and prevention in Colorado, Grove said. Twenty percent of that figure will be disbursed to local health departments. The remaining 80 percent has not yet been allotted for use by the State Board of Health, she said.
According to Grove, Larimer County has applied for $190,000 to hire staff and start capacity-building in education and prevention programs.
"This is the first time we have had money to deal with the No. 1 preventable public health problem," Grove said. "We want to be careful how we spend it."
Sen. Peggy Reeves, (D) Larimer County, agrees. Reeves co-sponsored the bill, which passed, detailing how settlement moneys will be appropriated in Colorado.
"I was really proud of the work we did," Reeves said. "The money is going into programs that will have long-term benefits, particularly for children and their families." Annual tobacco settlement funds will be appropriated as follows:
* 19 percent for Read to Achieve, a state-wide literacy program.
* 15 percent for tobacco education, prevention and cessation programs.
* 8 percent for tobacco-related research.
* 6 percent for community primary care grants.
* 3 percent for Nurse Home Visitation, a home health and education program for unwed, economically challenged and teenage mothers during pregnancy.
* 1 percent for the State Veteran's Fund.
* $10 million annually for the Children's Basic Health Plan, an "insurance plan for children of working parents who are economically struggling," Reeves said. The remaining 38 percent will be placed in a trust fund to keep programs going after the settlement monies run out, Reeves said.
"This was a case where we took the long-term view," she said.
(C) 2000 Rocky Mountain Collegian via U-WIRE