Funds Down for Tobacco Prevention

Cigarette Tax
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Remember seeing tobacco prevention campaigns targeted towards children on television? With our state's budget cuts they've disappeared.

Teens like, Stephanie Kingsbury, say prevention programs work and are still needed.

"Seeing the adds on television have reiterated the fact that I shouldn't smoke. The effects of the teens on the commercial was something that I didn't want and I knew that could happen," said Kingsbury, a junior at Harlem H.S.

Last year Illinois ranked ninth in the nation in teen tobacco prevention funding. Illinois now ranks 36 and some say that leaves problems ahead.

"You are going to see more chronic lung diseases in the future, more heart disease, and strokes, and other types of related diseases occur. And eventually it's all going to cost us more money," said Kathy Sullivan, American Lung Association.

With Illinois's budget deficit smoking prevention funds have been put in other places.

"The question is do we put money into actual services that are helping people or do we put money into prevention programs. And the decision this year was to cut back on prevention programs," said Senator Dave Syverson, (R).

That decision doesn't sit well with some health educators.

"Money is available. Where's the priorities? Right now, it's not with our children, it's not with prevention and that's a shame," said Paul Perrone, Health Educator at Harlem H.S.

The American Lung Association says that 90 percent of adult smokers started before the age of 18.