Preserve PA tobacco settlement fund
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to oppose the proposal to borrow against Pennsylvania's tobacco settlement fund to balance the budget. Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. In Pennsylvania, an estimated 22,000 deaths are caused by smoking each year. In addition, 6,700 PA kids under 18 will become new daily smokers each year. Since the General Assembly passed Act 77 in 2001, the Tobacco Settlement Fund has focused on funding health-related programs for Pennsylvanians, including tobacco use prevention and cessation. Since then, Pennsylvania has made significant inroads in preventing kids from smoking and helping adults to quit.
Tobacco prevention and cessation programs are a smart investment. Evidence-based, statewide tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained, and accountable have been shown to reduce smoking rates, as well as tobacco-related diseases and deaths. Research shows that the more states spend on comprehensive tobacco control programs, the greater the reductions in smoking. Over $6 billion is spent annually in PA to treat tobacco-related illnesses. Over $2 billion of that sum is through the commonwealth's Medicaid program. Preventing kids from using tobacco and getting adults to quit can help lower these costs.
I hope I can count on you to oppose securitization of PA's Master Settlement Agreement fund and maintain $14 million in funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and oppose any future borrowing against the tobacco settlement fund.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]