Kansas has lots of work to do to improve its "grades" on tobacco control, according to a new report card from the American Lung Association.
Kansas gets an “A” for its Clean Indoor Air Act. However, the state gets a “D” for the relatively low rate of taxes on tobacco, and an “F” for efforts to prevent tobacco use, and to help those already using it to quit.
“It’s not a whole lot different than last year, but it’s woefully accurate,”says Linda DeCoursey, head of the non-profit Tobacco-Free Kansas Coalition.
DeCoursey points to a report this spring from attorneys-general nationwide, which illustrates what happens when tobacco prevention funding continues to be dwarfed by marketing from the big tobacco companies.
“For every one person who dies a tobacco-related death, two children start smoking," she says.
Kansas spends less than one-tenth the amount the CDC recommends for anti-tobacco programs.
DeCoursey says the state’s policymakers need to take this issue seriously.
“I don’t think that they are. It’s been proven over and over by persistently under-funding programs that would help save lives.”
Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed funding tobacco control programs next at about the same level as this year, despite a recommendation that he cut them altogether.