Groups fault Mass. on anti-smoking program funding

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is getting poor marks on how much it spends on preventing children from taking up smoking and helping adult smokers quit.

A coalition of groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says the state ranks 36th in the nation in funding anti-smoking programs.

Massachusetts currently spends about $4 million on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, a fraction of the $90 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The coalition said that translates into less than half a percent of the nearly $945 million Massachusetts will collect this year from a 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes.

Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz defended Massachusetts' anti-smoking programs saying the state has lowered the percentage of young people using tobacco and is always looking for new ways to curb smoking.

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