Thursday, December 6, 2012

RWJF discusses state funding of anti-tobacco programs

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seems dismayed that only about 2% of the tobacco settlement money is going to prevent tobacco use.  (Link here.)

Are states behaving sub-optimally?  I have my doubts.  Tobacco rates have dropped in recent years, and anti-tobacco campaigns seem to have played a part.  But it's unrealistic to think that a campaign is going to instantaneously decrease rates to zero.  The question an economist would ask is if spending extra money on tobacco prevention would yield additional results.  (In the form of fewer smokers.)  If they would, is the cost per person that doesn't smoke based on these efforts worth it?

I don't know the answers to this, but I suspect the cost of getting smokers to quit is not cheap.  

Disclaimer: I have received grant funding from the RWJF in the past to study tobacco related issues.

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