Wed November 19, 2008
Smoking Settlement Anniversary Ignites Calls for Cessation Spending
By Carrie Pond
Frankfort, KY – As the 10-year anniversary of the largest civil settlement in U-S history approaches, health organizations are urging Kentucky lawmakers to utilize their piece of the pie. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) required major tobacco companies included in the suit reimburse the associated 46 states for smoking-caused health care costs over a 25-year period. Since the settlement, however, Kentucky legislators have failed to utilize its share of the $206 billon dollars- and some health advocates are calling for that to change. State lawmakers passed a law to cover reimbursement for cessation services for the Medicaid population, but have yet to fund that measure. American Lung Association President Bernadette Toomey says during economically-challenged times, the Commonwealth can't fail to fund smoking cessation efforts, which she says is proven to dramatically reduce smoking rates and related healthcare costs.