Remember this ad?
What a difference 60 years can make. New tobacco ads look like this:
The tobacco industry began running court-ordered ads this week in newspapers nationwide and on primetime TV. The ads center on the harmful effects of smoking, and are the result of a court case that found that the industry misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes.
“It's gratifying that finally at long last they’re being held more accountable for the dangers of their product,” said Bryte Johnson, Connecticut director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Though smoking rates have declined nationwide, he said just over 13 percent of adults and about 1 in 10 high school-aged kids continue to smoke in Connecticut. The state spends $2 billion each year in tobacco-related health care costs, and cigarettes kill about 4,900 people annually.
But Johnson said outside of Medicaid, Connecticut spends zero on tobacco control and prevention.
“The budget that was just passed by the legislature also eliminates the funding for tobacco control for the next two years,” he said. “So assuming no changes are made, we will go four years without a single cent being earmarked for tobacco control, despite the cost both economically and in terms of lives lost.”
Under the new budget, Connecticut is tied with New York for the highest state cigarette tax rate in the country.