By Sandra Haros , Reporter KTAR | January 6, 2015
Unlike other U.S. states, Arizona is doing well when it comes funding for anti-tobacco programs, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“We rank well within the top ten in terms of funding dedicated to these types of programs,” said Wayne Tormala, ADHS Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease.
Arizona, indeed, ranks 8th in total money spent on tobacco prevention programs.
However, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the state is guilty of underfunding the programs. A recent report suggests the state will spend just under 19 million dollars on these types of programs that have proven efficient in stopping kids from smoking. According to the campaign’s website, only North Dakota and Alaska currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the levels recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
“Relative to other states, we are doing quite well,” Tormala rebutted. “In fact, over the past few years, over 100,000 teenagers have quit smoking.”
In a report issued late last year, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids revealed that more than 50,000 Arizona high school students smoke — about 14 percent of all such students in the state. That number is about two percent lower than adults who smoke in the state.
The campaign also reported that Arizona ranks 17th in percent of CDS-recommended funding levels. The U.S. as a whole, it says, cumulatively spent just 1.9 percent of its overall tobacco revenue in 2014 on tobacco prevention programs.