Letter to the Editor: Coalition for a Tobacco Free Utah
As part of National Kick Butts Day April 2, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Utah would like to extend their appreciation to the Utah State Legislature for helping Kick Butts during the 2003 legislative session. We're thankful you realize the importance of maintaining tobacco prevention and control program funding. We understand the gravity of the state's current funding difficulties, and recognize that allocating tobacco prevention and control monies, as a quick fix to compensate for budget shortfalls must have seemed appealing. States such as Wisconsin, New Jersey and Missouri have taken this shortsighted step. Tobacco prevention and control programs are fundamental in reducing death, disease, and costs that tobacco inflicts upon taxpayers. Yearly, tobacco kills roughly 1,218 Utahns and costs Utah approximately $273 million in tobacco related health care costs. Every dollar spent in tobacco prevention saves roughly three dollars in medical costs. Funding tobacco prevention and control programs not only saves lives, but also increases revenue for the state in the long run.Utah's statewide tobacco prevention and control programs have been successful: fewer students and adults smoke, and more smokers want to quit. Our hope is that Utah will continue to use its resources sensibly until we eliminate the devastation caused by tobacco. We urge continued support of funding for tobacco prevention and control in Utah, which will give Utah a fighting chance to prevent another generation from becoming addicted to tobacco.