BOSTON -- The American Legacy Foundation this week unveils a newspaper campaign in nine states designed to increase the use of funds from the Master Settlement Agreement on anti-tobacco programs.
Ads from Arnold, Boston, are tagged simply "Legacy." One uses the headline "You've got six months to live," set in bold type against a stark white background. "If reading the above sentence startled you," the ad goes on to say, "imagine hearing it from your doctor. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too real for some of the 440,000 people nationwide who will die this year from tobacco-related diseases." Another ad depicts a monument with an inscription specifying how much states would save in Medicaid costs by reducing smoking rates.
Ads run for the next few weeks in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those states were chosen because in each, legislatures are still debating new fiscal budgets and a chance exists to allocate more MSA money toward anti-tobacco efforts.
"We hope to send a message to individual states that spending tobacco settlement money on tobacco prevention and control saves lives and saves money," said Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of American Legacy. The organization claims that states have allocated just 5 percent of the $205 billion in funds from the 1998 settlement between tobacco companies and state attorneys general on anti-tobacco programs.