Governor’s Veto of Tobacco Cessation Funding Disappointing to Advocates

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Governor’s Veto of Tobacco Cessation Funding Disappointing to Advocates

Decision Furthers Toll of Tobacco on Missourians Health & Wallet

JEFFERSON CITY, MO —June 26, 2014—This week, Tobacco Free Missouri and its statewide health advocacy partners were disappointed to learn of Governor Jay Nixon’s line item veto of much needed tobacco cessation funding to help Missourians quit smoking and lessen the burden of tobacco on our state.

Comprehensive tobacco cessation programs help smokers quit and ultimately save lives and money.  By reducing tobacco use, they play a crucial role in the prevention of many chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness. State tobacco control programs have been measured to have a $5 return for every $1 invested.

Advocates are disappointed by this missed opportunity as the Governor’s own 2015 budget recommendations included new funding for tobacco cessation. The General Assembly’s truly agreed to and finally passed 2015 budget included $150,000 in new state general revenue for tobacco cessation with a federal match of $150,000 for a total of $300,000 to the Department of Health & Senior Services.

However, the governor’s line item veto puts Missouri back to zero state funding for tobacco cessation and continues the toll of tobacco on Missourian’s health and wallet.  Unfortunately, Missouri ranks 50th in spending for tobacco prevention and cessation, which has significant consequences including:

  • One of the highest state smoking rates: 23.9%  national rate 19.1%
  • Annual Smoking Attributable Deaths in Missouri: 9,584
  • Annual Costs to the Missouri Economy Due to Smoking:
    • $2.13 billion health care costs
    • $532 million in state Medicaid expenditures
    • $584 paid by every household in Missouri from smoking-caused government expenditures.

“Research shows the majority of current smokers want to quit,” explains Traci Kennedy, Director of Tobacco Free Missouri, “It is essential to provide resources to help Missourians overcome this addiction to live healthier lifestyles.”

For full details on the Governor’s veto, click here