TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that a coalition of anti-smoking groups gathered data on how much Kansas spends on the consequences of tobacco yearly, with $1 billion being spent on treating tobacco related disease and illness. Tobacco causes heart disease and lung cancer, but has been more recently found to contribute to colon cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many other health problems.
On the other hand, the state spends less than $1 million per year on prevention tactics and helping smokers quit.
In 2012, 3,600 deaths were attributed to smoking - that's 1 in every 7 deaths. It has also been estimated that 54,000 children will eventually die because of smoking, unless rates of young smokers decreases.
When coming up with a solution to this problem, three steps were deemed important in overcoming the smoking epidemic: make laws to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, increase the price of tobacco products, and fund programs to encourage people to prevent or quit smoking.
Although the state already has a law from 2010 banning smoking in public areas, Kansas is lacking in the latter two. Ranking 36th in cigarette taxes and 41st in per capita spending on prevention programs, the state has a clear need to improve in these areas of policy.
Smoking kills more Kansans than illegal drugs, homicide, suicide,m car crashes and AIDS combined. However, it's also one of the easiest ills to fix.