According to Tobacco Free Indiana, Hoosier taxpayers will pay a big price for proposed cuts to funding for tobacco cessation and prevention.
The amended budget distributed Friday by the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee slashes funding for tobacco prevention and cessation from $8 million to $5 million. “Your lawmakers need to hear from you,” says Lindsay Grace, coalition coordinator for Tobacco Free Indiana. “Tell them to keep funding for tobacco prevention at $8 million.” Click here to look up your elected officials.
A study published last week by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, documented substantial savings in California, which started a tobacco control program in 1989. The state’s program reduced health care costs by $134 billion over a 10-year period, far more than the $2.4 billion spent on the programs, and savings of $56 for every $1 invested.
Studies show that smoking costs Indiana approximately $2.08 billion in health care costs every year and an additional $2.62 billion in lost worker productivity every year.
Investments in tobacco control have proven to be successful in reducing the number of smokers, as well as reducing health care costs for taxpayers. “Cuts to the program threaten to reverse the progress we’ve made,” adds Grace.
The Tobacco Free Indiana Coalition encourages Hoosiers to contact their legislators and ask them to ensure funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs is sustained at $8 million.