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California Kicks Butt!
When it comes to the battle to quit smoking, it seems California’s state-funded program is doing something right. Its residents not only improve their health, but also the program saves the states billions of dollars in health care—$86 billion dollars worth, to be exact, between 1989 and 2004. It also resulted in 3.6 billion fewer packs of cigarettes being sold. That could be translated into an estimated $9 billion loss, before taxes, for tobacco companies.
What's making the difference? It appears that the main reason California’s plan was so successful was because it aims to “change social norms” about smoking. Whereas most states have been targeting kids and teenagers to prevent them from starting smoking, California has been targeting adults. The idea is that as more adults quit smoking, it will influence kids not to smoke too.
The study of California's anti-smoking programs also found that the most successful messages against smoking emphasize that the tobacco industry lies, nicotine is addictive and secondhand smoke kills.
If California is doing such a good job kicking butt and saving billions of dollars, why haven’t other states implemented the same or a similar plan? And what should be done with all the savings? [WebMD]