Texas Spends $8.9 Billion On Tobacco-Related Health Care

The state takes in a fraction of that amount in tobacco taxes and money from the 1998 “big tobacco” settlement.

By Brien StrawDecember 19, 2017 8:09 am, , ,

From Houston Public Media:

Some argue that smoking is a personal choice, and that their choice only affects the tobacco user because medical costs are offset by taxes on tobacco products.

John Schachter with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says in Texas, that’s not the case.

“For tobacco-related and tobacco-caused disease only, the state of Texas is paying $8.9 billion in annual health care bills,” Schachter says.

That means the state spends over $7 billion more on health care-related costs, than it generates in tobacco-related taxes, and money it gets from the 1998 “Big tobacco” settlement.

What really disturbs Schachter is that Texas spends just $4.5 million on tobacco-prevention campaigns – $260 million less than the CDC recommends. Here’s why.

“95 percent of adult smokers started before they were 21, and 90 percent before they were 18,” Schachter says.

18-year old Adileen Sii, says product placement and design is directly aimed at people her age.

“Electronic cigarettes right up on the counter,” she says. “They’re marketed in a very colorful way with different flavors such as banana smash.”

According to the report, Big Tobacco spends over $1 million a day on that product placement.