Tobacco Control Coalition Response to PA Senate Democrats Settlement Proposal: Smoking Prevention and Cessation Programs Applauded, But Funding Inadequate
HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Pennsylvania praised the tobacco control programs included in the PA Senate Democratic Caucus settlement proposal unveiled today in Harrisburg, but criticized the amount of funding a
The statewide tobacco control coalition has requested that 25% of the settlement funds be spent on comprehensive nicotine addiction and treatment programs, but the Senate Democrats proposal earmarks less than 12% of the tobacco settlement funds for these programs. The coalition proposal is listed on its website: http://tobaccofreepa.org .
``While the proposal includes many excellent tobacco control programs, the funding is only half of what is needed to adequately decrease smoking rates,'' said Bill Godshall, president of the coalition.
``We'll have to step up our efforts to educate legislators about the original purpose of the lawsuit, and the public health and economic benefits of reducing smoking,'' added Godshall.
Smoking kills more than 22,000 Pennsylvanians annually and is the state's leading cause of death, disease and disability. About 2.3 million of the state's residents are currently addicted to tobacco.
``By spending only $25 per smoker annually, it will be very difficult to sharply reduce nicotine addiction,'' said Jeffrey Barg, past president of the statewide coalition.
Governor Ridge is anticipated to announce his proposal for spending the tobacco settlement in the next few months.