The Mountain Times

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Letter to the Editor 2.16

Dear Editor,

The American Lung Association's 2012 State of Tobacco Control report highlights Vermont's need to increase its investment in the comprehensive tobacco control program.

Although Vermont has been a leader in reducing the burden of tobacco use, the state falls short in tobacco control funding. The legislature allocated $3.4 million this year, over a million dollars less than the previous year, and a 37% cut since 2009. Although the ALA applauds the Governor for proposing to level fund the program next year, it is not enough. The administration also plans to divert the remainder of the Tobacco Trust Fund, created to sustain future tobacco control efforts, to address other budget shortfalls.

Annually, 700 kids start smoking, 800 Vermonters die from tobacco-caused illness, and the state spends $233 million in related health care. A recent study in Washington showed for every $1 spent on tobacco control, the state saved $5 in related healthcare costs. In order to continue reducing the burden of tobacco use, the ALA calls for lawmakers to increase tobacco control program funding to $4.9 million. Maintaining the status quo is penny wise and pound foolish when you look at the return on each dollar spent on tobacco control.


Kent Booraem

Leadership Board Chair, American Lung Association in Vermont

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