Impact of Tobacco Prevention Funding Cuts Revealed
In budget presentations before the West Virginia House and Senate Finance Committees the Dept. of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) outlined the plan for cutting over $1.8 million dollars from the Bureau of Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Prevention (DTP) budget for FY2017.
The cut, originally proposed in Governor Tomblin’s state of state address at the beginning of the legislative session, would reduce expenditures for tobacco control and education from $4,870,309 (FY2016) to $3,035.155 (FY2017). This cut comes on the heels of a number of budget reductions in FY2013 when the DTP line item was $5,684,814. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the state needs to budget CDC Best Practices – WV.
In the budget presentation West Virginia BPH Commissioner Rahul Gupta discussed the plan for implementing the cuts which include:
- Realigning work duties from external fulltime employees to internal staff (from 28 to 14).
- Remapping regions across the state to reduce the number of regional coordinators (RTPCs) from 10 to 5 while expanding their role to include comprehensive tobacco cessation.
- Reducing external evaluation and coalition support.
- Utilizing existing DTP staff to manage RAZE, the Youth Tobacco Prevention Program.
- Encouraging the Tobacco Quitline contractor to maximize participant insurance billing.
As these cuts are realized at the programmatic level there will also be an overall shift in spending priorities with far less dollars going into youth programs and local initiatives and a higher reliance on cessation efforts although at reduced spending levels across the board.
These proposed cuts will be crippling to West Virginia’s tobacco control efforts. They will further weaken programming which already does not meet minimum CDC recommendations.
The CTFWV and our partners organizations urge supporters of tobacco prevention and control to contact your legislators (especially members of the House and Senate Finance committees) urging them to NOT CUT TOBACCO CONTROL EFFORTS IN WEST VIRGINIA!
Keys points to make with legislators:
- Tobacco control funding in West Virginia is already below the $27.4 million recommended by CDC.
- Implementation of these cuts, as proposed, will cripple our community-based and youth targeted interventions which are important to break down cultural barriers to tobacco control and set the stage to prevent another generation of tobacco users.
- Tobacco costs the over $1 billion dollars a year in health care costs and lost productivity. Dollars spent on tobacco control now will result in saving in the future and is good for our state and our economy.
You can access contact information for your SENATE MEMBERS HERE.
You can access contact information for your HOUSE OF DELEGATE MEMBERS HERE.
Members of the House Finance Committee are:
Delegate Nelson, E. – Chair
Delegate Householder – Vice-Chair
Delegate Boggs – Minority Chair
Delegate Guthrie – Minority Vice-Chair
Delegate Evans, A.
Delegate Miller, C.
Delegate Smith, P.
Members of the Senate Finance Committee are:
Senator M. Hall – Chair
Senator Walters – Vice-Chair
Both the House and the Senate will be considering the budget until the end of the legislative session on March 12th.