Oppose securitization of PA's Master Settlement Agreement
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. When tobacco prevention and cessation programs lose funds, smoking increases. In a state like Pennsylvania, where an estimated $2.07 billion is spent through Medicaid on treating tobacco-related illnesses, the cost can be significant. Total annual health care costs in Pennsylvania directly caused by smoking are over $6 billion. Preventing kids from using tobacco and getting adults to quit can help lower these costs.
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.
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]