PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island is failing to adequately fund programs that keep kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit, according to the recently released American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014” report. In 2013, the state failed to allot more dollars to the R.I. Department of Health’s severely underfunded Tobacco Control Program.
“Rhode Island’s report card on tobacco control is not one any parent will be proudly hanging on their refrigerator,” said Karen Daigle, leadership board chair for the American Lung Association in Rhode Island, in a statement. “Rhode Island is failing to invest in vital resources that help keep kids from starting to smoke and provide smokers with the tools they so desperately need to quit. Meanwhile, Big Tobacco continues to rob Rhode Island residents of their health and employ clever tactics to lure new youth smokers.”
Tobacco causes an estimated 1,696 deaths in Rhode Island annually and costs the state’s economy $870 million in health care costs and lost productivity.
“Leaders in Rhode Island must step up to provide more smokers with the support they need to quit and adequately fund prevention programs that help keep our kids off tobacco,” said Daigle.