Tobacco control programs are a smart investment
Dear [Decision Maker],
I hope I can count on you to continue to fund PA tobacco prevention and cessation programs at $14.7 million. Times are uncertain and I appreciate that developing a budget on the heels of COVID-19 is difficult. But it is critical you do not make cuts to essential programs that prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help adult quit, as any cuts now will mean big costs later.When tobacco prevention and cessation programs are cut, tobacco use increases, and the economic burden to the state can be significant. In Pennsylvania, smoking is already estimated to cost over $6 billion in direct healthcare expenses annually, including over $2 billion to the state Medicaid program. These costs are borne by taxpayers, employers and families regardless of whether they use tobacco products. Reducing funding for tobacco prevention at this time will surely increase smoking rates, increase tobacco-related health care costs and mean more kids will grow up to become addicted adult smokers.Experience from states across the country shows that 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. The longer states invest in such programs, the greater and quicker the impact. I urge you to continue Pennsylvania's investment in reducing the toll of tobacco on our state. Please maintain funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs at $14.7 million.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]