Monday, January 09, 2006

State slashes anti-tobacco funding ( | Courier Times

Don't smoke. And, don't cut the funding from the tobacco settlement to help in the process of getting more people off of the tabacco habit and addiction.
State slashes anti-tobacco funding ( | Courier Times ... the state slashed 25 percent of its funding for Pennsylvania's tobacco prevention and cessation programs, state and county officials said.
I've looked a good deal at the stop-smoking programs of other states. We visited with many health-care groups in the state of Arizona, for example. They had nearly a dozen organizations in the state with messages about stop smoking. PA has been behind the times in terms of public outreach and education here.

It is a shame to see this tobacco money get reduced.

A friend of ours is considering a run for PA House. His entire campaign will be built upon the pledge of clean air for all workplaces. With the clean sweep efforts, a clean air twist and his history, he could have a real opportunity to make serious votes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

State slashes anti-tobacco funding

Bucks County Courier Times

Last year, Bucks County residents could access a national Web site to help them quit smoking free of charge. They also were reimbursed the $35 it cost to attend quit-smoking programs in local hospitals if they successfully kicked the habit.

This year, the county isn't offering reimbursements or free Web sites. All of the county's tobacco programs, including the one that helped Bristol Township's Harry S Truman High School win an Emmy for an anti-tobacco public service announcement, have less money.

And two county tobacco programs, including one that specifically helped Bensalem's Latinos quit smoking, will go out of business.

That's because the state slashed 25 percent of its funding for Pennsylvania's tobacco prevention and cessation programs, state and county officials said.

The money, which comes from some of the state's $11 billion settlement with tobacco companies, is being used to expand Adult Basic, the state's insurance program for the working poor, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which oversees those funds. About $400,000 was sliced from the $1.5 million budget of the Bucks County Tobacco Control Project, a division of the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said the reallocation of funds is needed to help the state's working poor. He added that using the money this way does adhere to the terms of the settlement.

"Basically, those funds are needed to meet the needs of those men and women. Every single dollar is still used for some type of healthcare service," Thompson said.

County officials are concerned that the major belt tightening will stifle tobacco prevention efforts.

The Bucks County Tobacco Control Project, which was started in 2002, is just beginning to make an impact, officials said. The project works with schools, hospitals, police department and social service agencies across the county.
Click here!

"We're just now getting people to come into the cessation programs, and then there's the funding cut," said Jane Northcott, associate director of the Bucks County Control Project.

Since July 2004, more than 500 people completed cessation programs in the county's seven hospitals and Planned Parenthood centers, Northcott said.

"When the project first started, if you tried to quit smoking, you would have seen something in the paper about a hypnotist or a program in a hospital. But if not enough people signed up, it would be canceled," Northcott said. "Now, individualized counseling is offered."

Northcott said the county's tobacco control project is too young to demonstrate a tangible impact on overall health statistics.

"It takes time before you see the numbers change," she said. "Other states that have comprehensive tobacco control see reduced heart conditions, reduced asthma cases, reduced emergency room visits and heart attacks."

She added: "Health care is important, and that's why tobacco prevention and cessation is important."

The Bucks County Tobacco Control Project is concerned that the state could further cut money from the program. Marlin L. Williams, the project's director, said he plans to speak with state legislators. The Bucks County Tobacco Control Project also plans to hold a community event this spring to showcase personal stories of people who have benefited from the program.

"Obviously, we would be ecstatic if the state returned the money," Northcott said. "The goal is to make sure they don't take more money."

Ben Finley can be reached at 215-949-4048 or

January 9, 2006 4:27 AM