Background: Despite controversy surrounding the use of funds arising from settlement agreements with the tobacco industry, little is known about the role of these funds in expenditures for state tobacco-control programs.
Methods: We evaluated state expenditures for tobacco-control programs in fiscal year 2001 in the context of the amount of tobacco-settlement funds received and allocated to tobacco-control programs and in the context of other state-level economic and health data.
Results: In 2001 the average state received $28.35 per capita from the tobacco settlement but allocated approximately 6 percent of these funds to tobacco-control programs. The average state dedicated $3.49 per capita (range, $0.10 to $15.47) to tobacco-control programs. The proportion of settlement funds allocated to tobacco-control programs varied from 0 to 100 percent and was strongly related to levels of tobacco-control funding (P<0.001). States with higher smoking rates tended to invest less per capita in tobacco-control programs (P=0.007), as did tobacco-producing states (the mean per capita expenditure was $1.20, as compared with $3.81 in non-tobacco-producing states; P<0.008). In a multivariate analysis, the proportion of the settlement revenue allocated to tobacco-control programs was the primary determinant of the level of total funding; the state tobacco-related health burden was unrelated to program funding.
Conclusions: State health needs appear to have little effect on the funding of state tobacco-control programs. Because only a very small proportion of the tobacco settlement is being used for tobacco-control programs, the settlement represents an unrealized opportunity to reduce morbidity and mortality from smoking.
Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society