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Report Says Missouri Spends No Money on Anti-Smoking Programs

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City – A new report shows that Missouri ranks last in the country in funding tobacco prevention programs. Public health organizations say the state needs to budget money to keep kids from picking up the habit and helping others quit. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reports that Missouri - which has one of the highest smoking rates in the country - spends no money on anti-smoking education. The report looked at how much money states around the country spent on tobacco prevention.

Nancy Gonder, spokeswoman for the Missouri Health Department, says the General Assembly has not spent any money on lowering smoking rates but about $1 million dollars in federal funding is used in schools around the state.

Nancy Gonder: "With limited funding that we have we're trying get grass roots momentum."

Josh Campbell, of the Missouri Lung Association, says the state does not spend any of the millions of dollars in tobacco settlement money to fund anti-smoking programs.

Josh Campbell: "We would like to see a fraction of the $256 million dollars a year that this state receives actually put into prevention and cessation."

Four other states do not fund any tobacco prevention efforts - Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Tennessee.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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