Letter to the editor: Put down those cigs, Vermont

 

Dear editor,

The American Lung Association’s 2012 State of Tobacco Control report highlights Vermont’s need to increase its investment in the comprehensive tobacco control program.

Although Vermont has been a leader in reducing the burden of tobacco use, the state falls short in tobacco control funding.  

The legislature allocated $3.4 million this year, over a million dollars less than the previous year and a 37 percent cut since 2009.  

Although the ALA applauds the governor for proposing to level-fund the program next year, it is not enough. The administration also plans to divert the remainder of the Tobacco Trust Fund, created to sustain future tobacco control efforts, to address other budget shortfalls.

Annually, 700 kids start smoking, 800 Vermonters die from tobacco-caused illness, and the state spends $233 million in related health care. 

A recent study in Washington showed for every $1 spent on tobacco control, the state saves $5 in related health care costs. 

In order to continue reducing the burden of tobacco use, the ALA calls for lawmakers to increase tobacco control program funding to $4.9 million. Maintaining the status quo is penny-wise and pound-foolish when you look at the return on each dollar spent on tobacco control.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kent Booraem

Leadership Board Chair 

American Lung Association in Vermont