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Kansas Anti-Tobacco Programs Have Room for Improvement

Fried Dough

Kansas has lots of work to do to improve its "grades" on tobacco control, according to a new report card from the American Lung Association.

Kansas gets an “A” for its Clean Indoor Air Act. However, the state gets a “D” for the relatively low rate of taxes on tobacco, and an “F” for efforts to prevent tobacco use, and to help those already using it to quit.

“It’s not a whole lot different than last year, but it’s woefully accurate,”says Linda DeCoursey, head of the non-profit Tobacco-Free Kansas Coalition.

DeCoursey points to a report this spring from attorneys-general nationwide, which illustrates what happens when tobacco prevention funding continues to be dwarfed by marketing from the big tobacco companies.

“For every one person who dies a tobacco-related death, two children start smoking," she says.

Kansas spends less than one-tenth the amount the CDC recommends for anti-tobacco programs.

DeCoursey says the state’s policymakers need to take this issue seriously.

“I don’t think that they are. It’s been proven over and over by persistently under-funding programs that would help save lives.”

Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed funding tobacco control programs next at about the same level as this year, despite a recommendation that he cut them altogether.