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ViewPoint: Smoking Money unspent

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February 20, 2007

You know one of the main reasons the public does not trust government leaders. It's because of issues just like this.

The State of Georgia is being given $167 million this year, in the 1998 tobacco settlement with national manufacturers, with the stated purpose to assist the state in education for the prevention of smoking.

Were these dollars used for what they were designed for...heck no...not even close...

How much will actually be spent by Georgia? $2.2 million.

The Governor's Office says they want to use those funds for rural economic development. The state has got to do that anyway, but it should not at the expense of the education of our young people.

Georgia has dropped down to 44th , almost lowest in the U.S., measuring the dollars spent on educating children about the dangers of smoking cigarettes.

The State of Georgia collected nearly 142 million dollars from the Tobacco Manufacturers national settlement in 2006, and spent only 2. 3 million dollars in anti-smoking efforts....less than 2 percent.

This fiscal year the state will receive more than 167 million dollars from the tobacco industry, but spend just 2.2 million dollars in efforts to stop smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control says Georgia should be spending at least 42 million dollars a year fighting smoking. The American Cancer Society said the number of those smoking is about 18 percent, and actually went up just a little bit recently.

One factor is the tobacco industry has more than doubled the amount they spend on marketing from 1998 to 2004, 15 ½ billion dollars.

Someone has got to provide this education, the parents you see driving around town smoking in their cars, with their children, sure aren't telling them it's dangerous.