Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Faith United Against Tobacco

Clergy of diverse faiths spoke out last week to encourage our nation's governors to fully fund tobacco control programs. The letter, endorsed by 24 different faith leaders, called on governors to fulfill their "moral obligation":

"In 1998 when the states entered into historic legal settlements with the tobacco companies, it was widely anticipated that the states would use the money from the tobacco companies to adequately fund programs that work to reduce tobacco use. Unfortunately, most states have broken that promise. We in the faith community believe that our leaders have a moral obligation to keep that promise in order to save countless lives from the horrors of tobacco-caused death and illness.

Our clergy spend too much time burying mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who die untimely and grueling deaths because they became addicted to tobacco when they were young. We know all too well how the tobacco companies have spent, and continue to spend, billions of dollars to addict young and old to this deadly product...” [my emphasis]

Sadly, our state has yet to meet its moral obligation to adequately safeguard the health of Wisconsinites through its Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. In the budget approved for this biennium, the State of Wisconsin funds our Tobacco Prevention and Control program at $20 million annually. The CDC recommends that Wisconsin commit $64.3 million annually to adequately address the burden of tobacco in Wisconsin.

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