Hawaiiâ€™s tobacco money shrinking
Hawaii will receive $7.8 million less this fiscal year in tobacco lawsuit settlement money because of decreased tobacco sales and cigarette shipments, officials report.
The state will get its third payment of about $20.8 million today, said state Department of Health director Bruce Anderson. In January officials said they hoped to receive $27 million in April.
The total for fiscal 2000 will be about $48.6 million, compared with original projections of $56.4 million. Hawaii was among 46 states in the $206 billion settlement reached with the tobacco industry in 1998. Hawaii originally hoped to receive about $1.3 billion by 2025.
Anderson said that because of the uncertainty of future tobacco money, the state should steer clear of using it to support programs with multi-year funding commitments. We donâ€™t want to get something started that we canâ€™t finish, he said.
Anderson also said the department should switch from funding treatment and direct services to supporting programs, such as the Healthy Hawaii Initiative, that address unhealthy behavior.
A bill enacted last year designated 25 percent of the settlement money for tobacco-use prevention, and 35 percent to the Department of Health for health promotion and disease prevention, 10 percent of which will go to health insurance for needy children.
The remaining 40 percent is for a rainy day fund.
Anderson said the department was asked to develop a plan that would support healthy lifestyles. The Healthy Hawaii Initiative works to ensure people get a healthy beginning in early childhood that lasts though adulthood, based on good nutrition, exercise and not smoking.
Health Department spokes-man Patrick Johnston said the plan would be implemented through media campaigns and school- and community-based activities.
Less money would scale back the implementation stage, Anderson said.