The Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has released its annual report on state funding to prevent tobacco use, and Connecticut has come in last of all states in the nation.
The national settlement between tobacco companies and most U.S. states requires these companies to pay the states $206 billion over 25 years. The states are free to use this money as they see fit, and Connecticut does what you would guess it does: dumps all of it into our general fund. Last year, Connecticut received $140 million from the settlement.
Now, I am not one given to believe that social ills are spread by a lack of government funding. But I do believe that our leaders in the General Assembly should be spending more on anti-smoking initiatives as a result of receiving that settlement money instead of just dumping it all in the general fund.
Democrats in the General Assembly championed the tobacco lawsuit and its resulting settlement saying it would help fight tobacco use. But what have they really done with the money? If these sensitive liberals, who are always bleating about the evil of tobacco, were serious about making changes, they would allocate SOMETHING in that area.
Instead, they have given us the legacy of the Quitline, a program that had success providing counseling, and nicotine replacement drugs, which was allowed to run out of funding after only 30 days.
So, this is the liberal anti-smoking legacy here in Connecticut. After years of being treated to the left's anti-smoking company campaign, their incessant ranting about how tobacco companies target children, and attempts to discern if an image of genitalia is subliminally included in Joe Camel's cartoon face, they feel so strongly about keeping our kids from smoking, they aren't willing to invest anything we have received from the settlement to make it happen.
But they can throw $65,000 away when Speaker Jim Amann decides to throw an impromptu and unnecessary one-hour special legislative session.