Pennsylvania Attorney General Corbett, American Lung Association & Others Call for New MSA Funds to Be Used for Tobacco Preventi

PHILADELPHIA, April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett today joined with the American Lung Association and 45 other tobacco control, prevention and health-related organizations from across Pennsylvania to encourage Governor Rendell and the General Assembly to dedicate the new estimated $25 million payment from the tobacco settlement to be used for tobacco prevention and cessation programming.

"Studies show that state tobacco control programs are effective at cutting the number of smokers, and the more funds that can be directed to these programs, the better the results," said Corbett. "With nearly one-quarter of Pennsylvanians plagued by nicotine addiction and smoking-related diseases costing our state's health care system an additional $5.19 billion annually, the Governor and the General Assembly have a unique opportunity this month to invest the extra money in the health and welfare of our citizens."

As part of the 1998 tobacco settlement (MSA), this month the involved states will receive an increase to their normal annual payments from the MSA-participating tobacco companies through the "Strategic Contribution Fund" payment that the companies must pay from 2008 to 2017. While payments vary for each state, Pennsylvania will receive an additional estimated $25 million on April 15 in addition to the other required payments.

"Pennsylvania currently spends $31.7 million on tobacco prevention and cessation, which pales in comparison to the $553 million - over $1.5 million a day - the tobacco industry spends each year to market and promote its products," said Deborah Brown, Vice President of Community Outreach and Advocacy for the American Lung Association. "With approximately 21,300 children under 18 years of age becoming daily smokers each year, the funding is critical to expand throughout PA existing tobacco prevention and cessation programs that we know work."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued investment guidelines to states on how to spend portions of the tobacco revenues. Included in the suggested guidelines are: state and community tobacco use interventions; health/media-related interventions; smoking cessation interventions; surveillance and evaluation; and administration and management of the tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The CDC has recommended that Pennsylvania spend 11 percent of its tobacco revenue on these types of initiatives.

"Tobacco use remains this country's leading preventable cause of death, but less than five percent of smokers are able to quit on their own," Corbett said. "When comprehensive cessation treatments are unavailable, smokers have few places to turn for help. I encourage the Commonwealth and insurers across Pennsylvania to make a wise investment in helping smokers to quit - and quit for good."

The other organizations that joined with Attorney General Corbett and the American Lung Association to support spending on tobacco prevention and cessation programs in Pennsylvania include:

-- Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Chapter

-- American Cancer Society

-- American Heart Association

-- American Lung Association

-- Armstrong County Tobacco Free Coalition

-- BUSTED (Philadelphia)

-- Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

-- Center for Humanistic Change, Inc.

-- *Coalition for Tobacco Free Beaver County

-- Coalition for Tobacco Free Berks

-- CONCILIO (The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations)

-- Council on Chemical Abuse

-- Council on Drug & Alcohol Abuse (Lancaster)

-- Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission

-- Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania

-- *Gateway VISION, a Division of Gateway Rehabilitation

-- Gettysburg Hospital Tobacco Control Program

-- Greene County Tobacco Control Program

-- Health Promotion Council

-- Healthy Adams County

-- Indiana County Tobacco Free Coalition

-- Lebanon Valley Health Services

-- Mercer County Tobacco Control Coalition

-- National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Philadelphia Chapter

-- Penn State University

-- Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians

-- Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco

-- Pennsylvania Asthma Partnership

-- Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners

-- Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

-- Smoke Free Philly

-- Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition

-- Southeastern Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Project

-- Tioga County Partnership for Community Health

-- Tobacco Free Allegheny

-- Tobacco Free Butler County

-- *Tobacco Free Cambria County

-- Tobacco Free Coalition of Lancaster County

-- Tobacco Free Fayette County

-- Tobacco Free Somerset County

-- Tobacco Free Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA)

-- Tobacco Free Washington County

-- Tobacco Free Youth of Lackawanna County

-- Urban League of Lancaster County

-- Westmoreland Tobacco Free Coalition

The event was hosted by the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), which is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, business and other community-based organizations.

The Health Promotion Council (HPC), a PHMC affiliate, works to prevent the initiation of tobacco use, eliminate nonsmoker exposure to tobacco smoke pollution, promote smoking cessation and identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

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