Md. Smoke Cessation Program Faces Cuts
Among the casualties of Maryland's budget cuts is the smoking cessation program that's funded by the decade-old tobacco settlement.
The "Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program" will be cut to $7 million annually from $21 million. Health care advocates successfully pressed to keep the cut to two years instead of the permanent reduction that was originally proposed. But they say the change puts at risk the state's free smoking cessation hotline, local health department stop-smoking programs, school-based prevention programs and surveys of cigarette use.
"It's very unfortunate," said Vincent DeMarco of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, which led the campaign for the current $2 tax on cigarettes. He said three factors are believed to influence someone's decision to start smoking: A high tax on cigarettes, a smoke-free workplace, and prevention programs. Maryland gets high marks for the first two, but the reduction to prevention programs carries "very significant and potentially deadly consequences," he said.
April 13, 2009; 12:13 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly , Lisa Rein
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