Giving up smoking is no simple task, and tobacco costs the United States billions of dollars in health care bills and lost man hours. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that smoking was costing the country $193 billion every single year. Because of smoking's impact on public health, there are quite a few organizations working to help reduce the number of smokers in the U.S., and some of them spend millions -- or even hundreds of millions -- to do so.
Many smoking prevention campaigns target kids, and there are even entire organizations aimed at keeping teens from smoking. The largest anti-smoking group that targets youth is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Of course, with a mission like that, it's safe to assume that most of their budget goes toward tobacco prevention. With other anti-smoking groups, the numbers get a little bit trickier to sort out.
Anti-smoking campaigns can focus either on smoking prevention or smoking cessation (helping smokers quit), and most groups work on a mix of the two. While prevention programs tend to be aimed at teens, there are prevention campaigns out there for adults, as well. Unfortunately, not all anti-smoking organizations are able to break out exactly what they spend specifically on prevention for a couple of reasons. One problem is that large organizations, like the American Lung Association, have chapters across the country that do their own accounting, making it almost impossible to get a total amount for the organization as a whole. The other issue is that smoking prevention and cessation are often closely tied together. Messages about cessation can help with prevention by raising awareness of smoking's dangers. Think about those anti-smoking ads depicting a smoker's lungs next to healthy lungs: That kind of campaign could keep someone from picking up the habit or convince a smoker that it's time to quit.
As part of the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998, tobacco companies agreed to pay $246 billion to states over 25 years to fund anti-smoking campaigns. In 2010, the
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reported that only 2 percent of the money from the settlement and from tobacco taxes was actually going toward prevention and cessation programs. States were really spending close to 30 percent less on anti-smoking campaigns than they were three years before.
But who does spend the most on smoking prevention? Next up, we'll look at some of the numbers.
Anti-smoking Groups By the Numbers
There are a few heavy hitters in the anti-smoking arena, and not all of them have current spending data available. To get an idea of what each group spends on smoking prevention, we'll compare the most recent numbers available from the largest organizations' anti-smoking programs. Not all of these groups were able to break out the numbers to separate smoking prevention programs from cessation, and one was only able to provide a total spent on preventing lung cancer. Despite the somewhat inconsistent reporting, however, there's one organization that clearly spent more than any other on smoking prevention.
- The Foundation for a Smokefree America only had a fiscal report available from 2006, when they spent $195,846 on anti-smoking programs.
- The American Cancer Society had a little bit of difficulty breaking out smoking prevention programs specifically, but according to a spokesperson, in the 2010 fiscal year they spent about $16 million in lung cancer prevention efforts.
- The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids spent $54.9 million in 2010 on prevention campaigns targeting kids and teens.
- The U.S. government spent far more than any of these groups, investing at least $517.9 million in anti-smoking programs in 2010. That figure only represents money that tobacco companies gave the states as part of the 1998 tobacco settlement. There are also federal government prevention programs that add up to far more.
The government spends the most money on anti-smoking campaigns, more than twice as much as the next biggest spender. So where does that money go? On top of state-specific programs that receive funding from the Master Settlement Agreement, the federal government promotes smoking prevention through a number of agencies, like Smokefree.gov, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Cancer Institute. When you look at all of the state and federal programs working to keep Americans from becoming smokers, the government is by far the largest anti-smoking organization in the U.S. and the one that spends the most on smoking prevention.
For more information on smoking prevention, check out the links on the next page.
- Afolab, Busola. Media Relations Manager, American Cancer Society. Personal Correspondence. May 23, 2011.
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "2010 Annual Report." 2011. (May 19, 2011) http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/content/who_we_are/annual_report/AnnualReport2010.pdf
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "A Broken Promise to Our Children." 2011. (May 19, 2011) http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what_we_do/state_local/tobacco_settlement/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Economic Facts about U.S. Tobacco Production and Use." March 21, 2011. (May 19, 2011) http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/economics/econ_facts/index.htm
- The Foundation for a Smokefree America. "2006 Report." July 1, 2006. (May 19, 2011) http://www.anti-smoking.org/2006report.pdf
- New York State Smokers' Quitline. "We can make quitting easier." (May 26, 2011) http://www.nysmokefree.com/
- Townsend, Mike. American Lung Association. Personal Correspondence. May 25, 2011.
- U.S. News & World Report. "U.S. Won't Meet 2010 No-Smoking Goals." Nov. 13, 2008. (May 27, 2011) http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2008/11/13/us-wont-meet-2010-no-smoking-goals
- Wilson, Joy Johnson. "Summary of the Attorneys General Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement." National Conference of State Legislators. March 1999. (May 26, 2011) http://academic.udayton.edu/health/syllabi/tobacco/summary.htm