Report: La. spends fraction on anti-smoking initiatives

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 9, 2015 at 8:00 a.m.



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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A new report finds Louisiana is doing a poor job of funding tobacco cessation and prevention programs.

According to a national report issued Tuesday by a coalition of public health organizations, found that tobacco companies spend $32 promoting use of their product for every $1 Louisiana spends to prevent kids from smoking and to help smokers quit.

In addition, Louisiana is spending $7 million this year on anti-smoking prevention programs — 11.7 percent of the $59.6 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1IUqo2H) Louisiana ranks 28th in the country on its efforts to combat tobacco use.

The report was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and Truth Initiative.

"The tobacco companies are as relentless as ever in marketing their lethal products, so it is critical that Louisiana step up its efforts to protect our kids from tobacco addiction and help smokers quit," Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a news release.

The coalition said Louisiana took a small step this year toward reducing tobacco use by increasing the state's cigarette tax by 50 cents to 86 cents per pack, but the tax is still well below the state average of $1.61 per pack. Health advocates are pushing for a larger cigarette tax increase in 2016 to have a greater impact on reducing smoking, especially among kids.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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The Associated Press

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