Report: Kansas not spending enough on tobacco prevention

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A newly released report suggests Kansas is not spending enough money on tobacco prevention.

The report released Wednesday by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids compares all the state that won money in a 1998 lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies.

According to the report, the Center for Disease Control recommends states spend $27.9 million on tobacco prevention programs.

In April 2017, Kansas received nearly $62 million from the 1998 settlement.

According to the state’s budget committee chairman, State Rep. Troy Waymaster, about $42 million was put in the Children’s Initiative Fund, which was established using the settlement money. The Children’s Initiative Funds is used for programs like; Parents as Teachers, the Kansas Reading Success Program, and family and maternal health programs.

In 2017, Kansas spent $847,041 on smoking prevention programs, the rest of the money was put in the state’s general fund.

Waymaster explained the money from the settlement doesn’t have to be used strictly for tobacco prevention, adding with budget constraints over the past few years, the state used the money where needed.

“We have a lot of social services that we’ve had to make sure we maintain funding for. There were a lot of times that there were some individuals who wanted to tap into the Children’s Initiative Fund and direct it towards other services and programs, and we made sure we were maintaining those dollars and they were staying with the Children’s Initiative  Fund,” said Waymaster.

Waymaster explained while the money from the settlement won’t expire, the state could receive less going forward.

Kansas is estimated to receive $49 million from the tobacco settlement in 2018, with $41.7 million going to the Children’s Initiatives Fund. In 2019, the state is estimated to receive $48 million.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, cigarette use among Kansas adults 18 and older has declined from 22% in 2011, to 17.2% in 2016.

In high school students, cigarette use declined from 14.4% in 2011 to 7.2% in 2017.

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