Missouri Ranks 49th in State Spending on Tobacco Prevention Pro - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Ranks 49th in State Spending on Tobacco Prevention Programs

Joplin, MO -


  According to a new report released Wednesday by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, not one state is spending what the Centers for Disease Control recommends on tobacco prevention programs.
     Programs which have been proven to save lives by preventing kids from smoking and helping others quit.

     It's recommended that close to twenty-eight million dollars should be spent on prevention programs in Kansas. It spent less than a million.
     Missouri, ranked 49th in the report, spent  forty-eight thousand five hundred dollars,  when it should've spent more than seventy million.
Doctors say it's needed in Joplin more than ever.

When you ask students at Joplins south middle school about smoking prevention education they say more is needed. Eighth grader Joe Jasper said, "I think if we heard it enough, kids would start listening."
Middle school students say there are some among them who do smoke. And tobacco prevention education has been sporadic.
Angelina Schramm said, "I remember in 5th grade we  had
Rise Above, (a specialized character education and choices program created by the Joplin Police department)  they talked a little about it  but it hasnt been mentioned much after that." Other students said cigarette ingredients are covered in health classes at least once.
A Freeman health system cardiologist  said  he's had heart patients come in who started smoking at the age of thirteen.

Dr. Ryan Longnecker added,  "And here they are in their fifties and they've been smoking over forty years of their life. That
s an alarming fact. And the longer you smoke the more problems you have."
Dr. Longnecker said heart patients are also getting younger.
Jana smith knows that all too well. She lost her mother  at age thirty-four and her grandmother died at age thirty-one, both to heart attacks.
She explained, "My aunt, also in 1996,  two weeks before mom passed, had a quadruple bypass. All three of them were smokers from a young, young age."

Dr. Longnecker said smoking is  a big contributor to heart disease and in Joplin smokers are twenty-two percent of the population compared to other states where it's fifteen percent.
Longnecker  warned, "Our young population (of smokers) is about eleven percent where most states are about eight percent. This is very alarming to me, when we look at Missouri and we were voted, Joplin was actually voted the unhealthiest city in Missouri."  
 Dr. Longnecker and Smith believe education is key to convincing kids and not funding it is a missed opportunity.
Smith added, "People think it won
t happen to me.  I wont   die in my early thirties of heart disease or people I love wont have heart attacks. And I can tell you from experience, it can happen. You can be a victim."

Students suggest the state fund more real life stories, like those in some public service announcements. Carl Junction high school Junior Katherine Crider said,  "Less,  You shouldnt smoke its bad for you! And more, This is what it will do to you and here are people this has happened to. "

State Reaction:

The Missouri budget chairman Scott Fitzpatrick said in the past five years no politician or citizen group has advocated for more funding for prevention programs.
          He said the state received One hundred ninety million dollars in tobacco settlement dollars last year that were divided between programs like Medicaid, Early Childhood efforts and the Department of Elementary and Secondary education.
          He contends three hundred thousand dollars was appropriated for smoking related programs.
     If you'd like to read more about the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids" report,

 “Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later” which  was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, along with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.

click here.

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