Last week, the American Lung Association in Iowa released its 10th annual State of Tobacco Control report with Iowa receiving two "F's", a "D" and an "A". The report card format grades states on key tobacco control policies and Iowa's effectiveness at adequately protecting citizens from the enormous burden caused by tobacco use.
Iowa scored an "F" for slashing the tobacco prevention and control budget by 55 percent with $7.39 million allocated in 2011 to just $3.25 million in 2012. Restoring funding to 2011 levels would ensure that Iowa is doing everything it can to help smokers quit, encourage children never to start and prevent the disease and death caused by tobacco use. While the need to balance the budget is on everyone's minds, it's important to remember that smoking costs our state more than $1 billion each year in Medicare, Medicaid & state employee healthcare costs and lost productivity. Furthermore, for every dollar Iowa spends on helping smokers to quit, we see a $1.26 return. Restoring tobacco prevention and control funding to 2011 levels makes sense for our state not only yielding a positive return on investment but also a positive improvement in the health of Iowans statewide.