To the Editor:
$640 million. That’s a pretty big number. Especially when you realize that’s how much the state of Rhode Island takes on in tobacco-related health care costs each year.
Eighteen hundred is a pretty big number, too. And a sad one, as it represents the number of adults who die in Rhode Island each year from their own smoking. On top of that, 16,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Rhode Island will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
So what can we do about it? For starters, we can help people quit smoking and help ensure that our youth never pick up the deadly addiction in the first place. We can do this by prioritizing state funding for tobacco prevention, cessation and education programs.
As a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) I look forward to working with Governor Raimondo and the General Assembly next year to increase tobacco control prevention and cessation as part of the state’s budget. We have a great opportunity ahead of us to work together to ensure sufficient funds are in place to combat tobacco use by our youth, and to help smokers quit for good.
$640 million is a big number, but it’s one that we can bring down if we invest in prevention and cessation today. We’ve made great progress in the fight against tobacco, but now is not the time to stop – there are simply too many lives on the line.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network