Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dear Legislatures- Can I have my $38 in Cigars?

These are the stories that really drive me nuts.  In it, we learn that the Missouri Foundation for Health is issuing (close to) $2Mill to conduct a survey targeting 52K Missourians.  This works out to $38 per person harassed (I would love to know the dropped call ratio on their telephonic survey), for a survey that was also conducted 4 years ago in 2007, for a survey on a subject the Surgeon General has already deemed unhealthy and is generally accepted as such across America.  People are going to smoke (at least until it is made illegal, then we will SURELY all quit), we take a risk when we do…and we are reminded of it constantly.  Just as skydivers know there is a chance their chute won’t open….I know there is a chance I might become terminally ill when I partake in a cigar.  I don’t need to see results of a $2Million survey (I couldn’t find the 2007 Survey on their website) to tell me this…I’m a product of public education and I can read and I can also make my own decisions. 

Further reading on their site shows there was a Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Initiative from 2004-2009, a funding program that divvied up $23.9 Million in 78 Grants.  Holy Cow, that’s a lot of money.  A lot of that money comes from Sin Taxes on Tobacco, and there are some interesting stats located on the site as well

  • Missouri ranks 2nd to last in state funding of tobacco control programs.
  • Missouri ranks 49th in tobacco excise tax – 17 cents/pack compared to national average of $1.17.
  • Missouri has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation; more than 24% of adults smoke compared to 20% nationally
  • The state’s lung cancer death rate still remains high despite a significant decrease in the national rate.

Of course, there is no citation included with the above stats (hey, even I do citation from time to time) and I find them somewhat skewed.  The first two go hand in hand….but I would like know if this takes the statistical anomaly of population dispersion into account?  If you have a lot of people in NY buying High Tax smokes…you generate revenue.  Likewise, where does Missouri fit with Smoking Rates in the Nation…they just say “One of the Highest” at 24%, compared to 20% Nationally…4% makes that much of a difference?  Finally, I wonder if they are using statistics like MADD does (I highly recommend this READ), where ALL lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking…even though it is a leading cause, not the ONLY cause.

Oh well, below is the story that started this rant.  I realize these Health Initiatives are Sexy and that there is little you can do to stop Congressmen and Senators from promoting these laws.  I just hope the Government gets off MY tit sometime with funding this crap.  Like I said, give me my $38 back in Cigars.

$2 Million Study Examines Tobacco Use in Missouri

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI (kcur) - The Missouri Foundation for Health is providing close to $2 million dollars to fund a state-wide survey of tobacco use and its health effects. The largest adult health study ever conducted in the state will reach more than 52,000 Missourians.
The year-long study is a follow-up to a similar one conducted in 2007.
Missouri Foundation for Health program officer Matthew Kuhlenbeck says the telephone survey will cover not just tobacco use, but community demographics, access to health care, physical activity, and nutrition.
"And it really provides us an opportunity to better understand each county, as well as the factors that are affecting the health of each county," says Kuhlenbeck.
Kuhlenbeck says the information gathered in the survey will be used to assess whether community-level efforts like smoking bans and awareness programs, are reducing tobacco use and the health problems it causes.

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