Anti-smoking campaign doesn't get much money - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Anti-smoking campaign doesn't get much money

 February 16, 2007

   Albany --  Georgia will collect $167 million dollars from the tobacco industry national settlement this year, but only $2. 2 million will be spent on anti-smoking efforts. Advocates are lobbying state legislators and the Governor to put more of that money back into anti-smoking campaigns.

The State of Georgia collected nearly $142 million from the Tobacco Manufacturers national settlement in 2006, and spent only $2.3 million in anti-smoking efforts, less than 2 percent.

The American Cancer Society says they do not want to see a rise in the number of people who smoke.

American Cancer Society Manager Cecillia Morris said "It's hovering somewhere about 18 percent.  And we want to get that decreased. Because lately we have seen just a bit of a rise, statistics saying it went up just a little bit."

Georgia's financial commitment to anti-smoking campaigns is 44th lowest in the nation. 

The Centers for Disease Control says Georgia should be spending $42 million a year fighting smoking.  Money the American Cancer Society says should be used to educate young people about the dangers of tobacco use.  

"We would put more money in the local communities, and the schools for education, and of course the colleges and universities," Morris said. The Governor's Office says they want to use those funds for cancer research and rural economic development. The American Cancer Society and other health agencies are campaigning legislators to put more tobacco money into anti-smoking efforts. 

They point out that the tobacco industry has more than doubled the amount they spend on marketing  from 1998 to 2004, $15.5 billion. The 1998 tobacco settlement is expected to pay the state of Georgia nearly four billion dollars over 25 years.

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