The federal government and the vast majority of states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, inadequately fund tobacco-use prevention programs, according to a leading health advocacy group.
In its annual State of Tobacco Control report, to be released Wednesday morning, the American Lung Association gave the Garden and Keystone States failing grades for programs to protect citizens from tobacco-related diseases.
New Jersey receives an annual $997 million and Pennsylvania $1.4 billion in tobacco-related revenue. Despite having those funds, the report found that in fiscal 2013, New Jersey will spend 2.2 percent of the sum recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for prevention programs, and Pennsylvania will spend 11 percent.
On average, states will spend 12.5 percent of the CDC's recommendation, the analysis found. Only nine have allocated at least half of what the CDC calls for.
Tobacco-related health care and lost productivity cost New Jersey an estimated $5.6 billion a year, according to the report. The cost to Pennsylvania is about $9.4 billion annually. Smoking is the country's leading cause of preventable death, according to the association.
Pennsylvania spent more than $14 million on tobacco-use prevention last year, "not an insignificant amount," said Aimee Tysarczyk, a state Health Department spokeswoman.
The American Lung Association also graded states on their use of cigarette taxes to depress sales and pay for antismoking programs, efforts to create smoke-free zones, and coverage of smoking-cessation costs incurred by individuals.
Pennsylvania has a $1.60-per-pack tax, and is the only state that does not tax other tobacco products, according to the report.
The state "is leaving some dollars on the table," said Deb Brown, president and chief executive of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.