Tobacco prevention funding made the cut but is now at risk.
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There is some good news on tobacco prevention if we can hold on to it. But we need your help in urging the Governor's support.
Legislators included $1 million from the $28 million Vermont received this year in special one-time Master Settlement funds within the budget they passed in order to address tobacco prevention priorities of Vermont's Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board.
That's great news and a significant bump to the $3.5 million Vermont is currently spending on its tobacco prevention and control program. But the problem of tobacco is far from solved. Because of the allure of e-cigarettes, 25% of Vermont youth are now using some form of tobacco or vaping product. The adult rate has not changed in several years and lags behind nation’s rate of 15.5%. A thousand Vermonters die each year from tobacco. Vermont spends $348 million in healthcare costs related to tobacco, of which $87.2 million is Medicaid spending. That translates to an annual $897 tax burden per Vermont household.
However, the budget bill the $1 million in tobacco prevention funding is included in, H.924, is opposed by the Governor. Lawmakers are back for a special session to re-examine it due to the Governor's concern over education funding and taxes. Please urge him to retain the additional $1 million for tobacco prevention. It will save both lives and health care spending.
You can reach the Governor at http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message