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Nevada 42nd in Tobacco Prevention Funding


Nevada ranks 42nd in the nation for tobacco-prevention funding. That's according to a new report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Nevada will receive 143 million from the big tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes this fiscal year, but the state will only spend about one million dollars in an effort to reduce the number of young smokers.
John Schachter is with Tobacco-Free Kids. He says Nevada is on par with what other states are doing. A total of 25-billion dollars from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes went out to states, but less than two percent of it will be spent on prevention.  

"It's not making the investment now in preventing tobacco use, by young people especially. And they're going to see that if they continue to rank this low, there's going to be a continuing problem that's going to cost the state in lives and money."

In 1999, the Nevada Legislature drafted two bills outlining how the tobacco settlement money was to be spent. Approximately 60 percent goes toward health care programs, and 40 percent funds Nevada's Millennium Scholarship. It's not clear whether prevention programs fall under health care.

Nevada's 19 percent high-school smoking rate is about five points higher than the national average. Tobacco use kills an estimated 41-hundred Nevadans each year and taxpayers spend over one billion dollars on health care for sick smokers.

Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.