Tobacco control programs play a crucial role in preventing youth initiation and helping current tobacco users quit for good. In Delaware, we are seeing expanded support of tobacco control which is good - but it can be better.
The good news is that Governor Carney’s proposed budget would increase funding for the Tobacco Control and Prevention Program from $1.8 million to $3.7 million. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Delaware spend $13 million on tobacco control and prevention initiatives. However, even when combined with other state agencies, Delaware falls short of this goal. Governor Carney’s proposed increased for the Tobacco Control and Prevention Program is a step in the right direction.
The toll of tobacco remains high in Delaware. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids – 15.1 percent of adults in the state smoke, 6.2 percent of high school students smoke, and 13.6 percent of high school students use electronic cigarettes. These numbers are all higher than the national averages. Sadly, 1,400 family members, friends, neighbors and fellow Delawareans die each year from their own smoking – and an alarming 17,000 kids now under 18 and alive in the state will die prematurely from smoking.
Delaware must do better. It is time to increase the state’s investment in tobacco cessation programs and tobacco prevention work in collaboration with youth and community-based organizations. Now more than ever, continued access to these resources is vital for First State residents. Please remember to take action today!