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Nixon Wants Tobacco Settlement Money Spent on Smoking Prevention


By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis – The state of Missouri has not spent any of the money it has received from a major settlement agreement with tobacco companies on programs designed to keep kids from smoking. Some state officials and agencies want to change that.

Democrat Attorney General Jay Nixon wants the Republican-controlled state legislature to set aside new tobacco settlement funds, about $7 million a year, for youth prevention efforts.

He says such programs in other states have been successful.

"A program in suburban Houston aimed at sixth and seventh graders has helped reduce tobacco use there by 28 percent," Nixon said. "And a program in New York aimed at students in grades four through nine that emphasizes parental involvement, dietary behavior and physical fitness has reduced smoking rates among those students by 73 percent."

Nixon says 30 percent of Missouri high school students smoke. That's the third highest rate in the country.

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