Despite the historic successes of Vermont’s tobacco control program, tobacco use is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease. While we’ve made great headway, there is more work that needs to be done and the program is at risk.
The Governor’s proposed budget would cut nearly $245,000 this coming year, reducing funds to the health department and eliminating funding for the independent Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board.
This cut in prevention funding will only move Vermont backwards in the state’s efforts to control skyrocketing healthcare costs. Vermont currently spends $348 million each year on tobacco-attributable health care expenses.
Tobacco use still claims the lives of 1,000 Vermonters annually. 400 children become new daily smokers each year and 10,000 Vermont children currently alive today will die prematurely from smoking. We have populations where smoking rates are high – over 20% of Vermont’s college-age youth smoke and smoking rates for those with low incomes or serious mental illness are at or above 30%.
Help us urge Vermont lawmakers and the Governor to maintain funding for the tobacco program to reduce these numbers and support a significant increase in the tobacco tax – proven measures that will reduce smoking in Vermont. Click the link below to take action today!