Olympia - 2/18/00 - Every day 3,000 kids become regular smokers. Tobacco use costs Washington taxpayers $1.3 billion in health care costs and 8,200 lives of family and friends every year. The budget released today by the House Republicans will do nothing stop this deadly epidemic and drain on our state’s health care system.
States with comprehensive anti-tobacco programs have proven that investments in tobacco prevention and control will pay enormous dividends. The state Department of Health estimates that if the Legislature funds a comprehensive program at the $26 million level it recommends, the state will save $1.08 billion and prevent 28,000 premature deaths in three years. Limiting state spending for tobacco prevention and control to $2.5 million per year will not stop rising youth smoking rates.
I will continue working with the Governor and Legislators to ensure that we ultimately reach agreement on an adequately funded tobacco prevention program to prevent this generation from being the next generation of addicted smokers.