Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition director Jayne Hellebust says the state ranks 42nd nationally in financing of programs to shield kids from tobacco use. Hellebust said 10,000 children in Kansas start smoking every year.
The ranking was created by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, based on the state's expenditure of $2 million a year on prevention. That's about 6 percent of what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Kansas should spend and less than 2 percent of the $106 million spent every year on tobacco advertising in the state.
The group called on state leaders to raise the cigarette tax and use some of the settlement to fight teen smoking.
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