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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, November 9, 2007

Decline in smoking rates stalls as anti-tobacco campaigns lose funding, CDC says

After seven years of decline, smoking rates across the nation are stuck at about 21 percent, where they have been from 2004 to 2006, federal officials said, a leveling-off possibly linked to greater marketing efforts by tobacco companies and fewer anti-smoking dollars for public health campaigns, the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets say today.

smoking%20ad%20150.bmpThe trend in smoking rates mirrors what has also happened in Massachusetts, according to a story in the Globe in July. Cigarette sales increased after the state dropped its tough anti-smoking ads (like the one at left) in 2001, Stephen Smith reported after the state Legislature voted to reinvigorate the tobacco-control program. Its budget was boosted to $12.75 million for next year, from $8.25 million this year.

A CDC official blamed reduced spending on anti-tobacco campaigns and bigger marketing budgets from cigarette companies for the national numbers.

"What is happening doesn't have to happen," Dr. Matt McKenna, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, told the LA Times yesterday. "With appropriate support and efforts and counter-marketing, tens of thousands of people don't have to die."

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 11:39 AM
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