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(KSL News) Despite one of the lowest smoking rates in the country, Utah is being criticized for its subpar funding of anti-tobacco programs.
Danny McGoldrick, with Tobacco-Free Kids, said, "Need to step it up a little bit. Utah's done some good things with the programs it does have but needs to do a little bit more."
Tobacco-Free Kids ranks Utah 24th in funding tobacco prevention. It says Utah spends just over $7 million annually; that's less than 50 percent of the CDC's minimum recommendation.
"Utah, like every other state, is getting millions and millions of dollars from the settlement and its tobacco tax dollars," said McGoldrick. "It would take just a small portion of those dollars to do what the CDC recommends and what the science tells us will work to reduce smoking among both youth and adults."
The report marks the ninth anniversary of the state tobacco settlement, in which tobacco companies agreed to make yearly payments to each state involved in the suit.
The payments are meant to cover smoking-related medical costs and tobacco prevention programs.