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April 2, 2013

Letter: It’s time for lawmakers to invest in our health

(Continued)

We’ve made big strides in reducing death and disease caused by tobacco. Now is not the time to cripple the programs that can be credited with that progress. I ask our legislators to adequately fund the tobacco prevention and cessation program

Clark County Tobacco Prevention Coalition supports the Tobacco Free Indiana Coalition and its efforts to work with Indiana lawmakers to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco.

Our state remains in the crosshairs of the tobacco industry and the legislators whom they lobby. This year there is an effort to undermine efforts of tobacco prevention and cessation by slashing that budget by 38 percent.

Every year Indiana receives $125 million as part of the master settlement agreement. That money is suppose to be used to help individuals quit using tobacco and to prevent others from starting. While the full $125 million has never been allocated to tobacco prevention and cessation, the money that has been available has been used to produce significant results.

From 2000-2010, the adult smoking rate has dropped by 5.7 percent to one of the lowest rates in history. The state’s free Quit Line has served more that 84,000 Hoosiers since its launch in 2006.

Real progress is being made, but a further cut in funding will cripple the program and cause us to regress. That means more deaths from heart attacks, lung cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.

Please join Clark County Tobacco Prevention Coalition in support of restoring funding for tobacco prevention and cessation. Email annie.reiss@clarkmemorial.org or visit www.facebook.com/tobacco freeindiana for more information.

 

— Annie Reiss, Coordinator Clark County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition

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