The AAFP joined scores of other stakeholder groups in strongly opposing a $110 million funding cut for the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) that is included in the House's FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.(docs.house.gov)
In a July 12 letter(3 page PDF) to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee that was spearheaded by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the 47 organizations called on legislators to restore that funding and allocate at least $210 million -- the same amount Congress enacted for FY 2016 -- to the OSH.
"The work that OSH does is critical to ending the tobacco epidemic that takes far too many lives and exacts an enormous financial toll on the nation's economy," the groups explain.
One of the most high-profile activities OSH funds is the national Tips From Former Smokers media campaign. During a period of just over two months in 2014, 1.8 million Americans who smoke were motivated by the campaign to make a quit attempt, and 104,000 smokers actually quit.
"The campaign is highly cost-effective, with a cost of just $393 per year of life saved, far below the $50,000 that is an accepted benchmark for cost-effective public health programs," say the groups.
"The House's proposed funding cut would make it virtually impossible for CDC to continue this vital campaign," they argue.
And that's not the only program the threatened funding cut would harm, the AAFP and others warn. OSH also shells out a considerable amount to states each year for tobacco quitlines, which have been shown to "greatly increase the chances that a smoker will quit successfully," the groups state.
Also at risk is funding and technical assistance that OSH provides state health departments to help them maintain and enhance tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the state and community levels. And finally, this stream of funding enables OSH to conduct essential research on the prevalence of tobacco use and to alert policymakers about related trends, such as the recent dramatic rise in e-cigarette use among adolescents.
"Cuts to OSH funding would lead to more young people using tobacco products, fewer adult tobacco users quitting, more people with tobacco-caused diseases, more premature deaths and higher future health care costs for treating tobacco-caused disease," the letter concludes.
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