This year, Arkansas has earned more than $ 60 million from the cigarette companies. Arkansas is one of the few states that use all our money for medical purposes. Most of the funds will be spent on preventing tobacco use, and the rest is split between health care resources.
Ed Barham with the Department of Health says tobacco remains a leading cause of death and disease prevention in the state. Barham said: “Our country does best when it comes to tobacco use, but there is plenty of room for improvement.”
The funds from the tobacco settlement are supposed to help with this. The state voted in 2000-2001 to use the money for tobacco prevention and other health programs. Barham says he pays 27 nurses and health care specialist shares.
“They work on all kinds of services such as care for mass vaccination clinics, as we have done for the flu season and all that it can not be done without them; this is funded by tobacco money.”
So, here’s where the money went in 2011:
More than $ 14 million went to the prevention of tobacco use. $2 million of that targeted to minority communities. Now a little over $ 7 million is divided between the School of Public Health, the delta area health education center, and aging centers around the state. More than $ 10 million goes to the state of bio-science institute, which leaves 13 and a half million for the expansion of the program Medicaid.
Barham said: “In 2000, voters were told that we want this money will be spent on health care costs, and we do not want it on other projects, we want health, and that’s what set us apart from most other states, in fact, we are the only state in America that does this and it really sets us apart.”
For comparison, Barham said other states use their tobacco settlement to help cover budget gaps. Ed Barham also said that with the money in all areas of health care is still helping, the problem of tobacco indirectly. And statistics show his work, because 100,000 less than the Arkansans smoke in 2002.