Tobacco Prevention Council Says: ''State Needs Fully-funded Prevention Plan''
OLYMPIA, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 16, 2000--The Tobacco Prevention and Control Council has reaffirmed its commitment to seek full funding of the tobacco prevention plan.
The Council, chaired by Secretary of Health Mary Selecky, has developed a statewide plan to reduce smoking by 30 percent in ten years. Governor Locke's budget calls for full funding of the plan at $26.24 million for the first year.
``Clearly, legislators have the job of deciding how much to spend on tobacco prevention,'' said Selecky. ``If the program is fully funded, in three years we can reduce smoking 10 percent, and save 28,000 people from early deaths. If the funding is cut in half, it will take ten years to reduce smoking by only nine percent.''
The $26.24 million being requested is less than $33 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a minimum funding level for Washington state.
At a meeting of the Council last week, Dr. Alonzo Plough, who also is director of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health, voiced the belief of other Council members. The plan, said Plough, is based on proven practices from other states and should be given a chance to work: ``We need to match our tobacco control efforts to the scale of the problem and stick to proven, results-oriented strategies.''
Dr. Willa Fisher, council member and health officer for Bremerton-Kitsap County Health District agreed, saying, ``Throwing too little at this problem sets us all up for failure.
``If we don't have the resources to be successful, the Legislature will say, 'See, your prevention efforts don't work and we aren't spending any more money on this nonsense,''' Fisher said.
Federal experts have repeatedly stressed that Washington's plan must remain funded at the $26-million level, if the state expects to significantly reduce tobacco use, save health care dollars and lower the tobacco death rate. A statewide program would be based on six critical and interdependent activities proven to decrease tobacco use in states such as Massachusetts and California.
``No one activity or a combination of two or three activities can achieve the statewide goal of preventing and curbing tobacco use,'' Secretary Selecky said. ``We know that a $26-million comprehensive plan will get results. It will keep young people from starting, help people who are already addicted to quit, and save thousands of lives and billions in health care costs.''