Those kinds of numbers indicate that more rather than less should be spent on reducing smoking.
According to Simpson, Indiana at least restricted its settlement spending to health matters, such as child immunizations. That’s good. But should not funding of those efforts, as needed as they are, come from other sources?
Of course, when there’s “free” money to be had — after all, this cash windfall hasn’t cost state taxpayers anything directly — the deck is easily reshuffled. Tax revenue that might have paid for immunizations can be diverted to other needs, with tobacco money picking up those costs.
It’s very troubling that despite evidence that teen smoking dropped by a third in Indiana from 2001 to 2011, anti-smoking spending is under continual attack, and we now spend only about $5.8 million annually for such efforts. That’s about 7 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. A bigger investment would be a wise investment.
— Herald-Times, Bloomington
THE ISSUE How Indiana uses its tobacco settlement dollars. THEIR VIEW Funneling the money into smoking cessation efforts is a much wiser investment.