IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A new report from the Centers for Disease Control claims Idaho's tobacco prevention and cessation efforts are woefully underfunded. The report says Idaho should be spending seven times more on those programs.
According to the CDC Idaho gets 48.3 million dollars from tobacco taxes and 24.9 million dollars from the tobacco companies from a lawsuit settlement. Yet the CDC says Idaho spent just 2.2 million dollars for project filter - Idaho's tobacco prevention and control program. The CDC recommends 15 million dollars.
Students at South Fremont High School think teen smoking is a concern.
"I do think it's a problem, and I think it's sad we see so much of it," Emily Chelson said.
"I do see it from time to time, people I know and they wish they could stop," Todd Tucker said.
Stacey Satterlee in Boise, who is involved with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network supports more state funding to target tobacco use, especially aimed at discouraging teens from smoking.
"The tobacco companies spend an inordinate amount of money, particularly on youth, because they need new users of their product," Satterlee said.
State representative Fred Wood is on the committee that decides how to use that tobacco settlement money. He said the state is planning to spend about 2.5 million dollars on project filter, and a couple million more on other programs that target tobacco use. He said he felt the state is doing pretty good job in that area, and there are other areas where additional funding is needed more.
"I would like to see us spend more money on prevention and treatment of substance use disorder outside tobacco," Wood said.
However, Satterlee says money spent on tobacco prevention and cessation pays off for the taxpayer.
"The medical costs for tobacco related illnesses in the state is about 580-million dollars a year, so it's a significant pocketbook issue as well as a health issue," Satterlee said.