Texas is set to get $1.8 billion this year from the huge tobacco-litigation settlement of a decade ago, but it will spend just 0.6 percent of that on preventing kids from smoking, a report from a coalition of health groups said today.
The state spends $11.4 million a year on such efforts, the group says, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a level of $266.3 million.
"Texas is one of the most disappointing states when it comes to funding programs to protect kids from tobacco and is spending just a fraction of what the CDC recommends," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
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"To make progress against tobacco, Texas leaders must increase funding for tobacco prevention and enact a comprehensive smoke-free law that protects everyone's right to breathe clean air," he said. "Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs."
Along with that group, the study was released by American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
They say one out of five Texas high schoolers smoke and 31,200 kids become new smokers each year.
Just stick with the Four Loko, all right?