(Washington) -- Public health advocates are urging the state's leaders to spend more money on tobacco prevention and smoking cessation programs.
Pennsylvania is in line for more than one billion dollars next year as part of the 1998 agreement among states and the tobacco companies.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says the commonwealth will spend $14 million of that on anti-tobacco programs.
Campaign Vice President of Research Danny McGoldrick says it's part of a nationwide trend where states are cutting back on smoking prevention spending.
"Investing in tobacco prevention programs is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do," McGoldrick says. "In addition to saving lives, it'll save health care dollars, virtually paying for itself."
McGoldrick says some 20,000 Pennsylvanians die from tobacco-related diseases each year.
He says about $5 billion is spent annually on treating tobacco-related ailments in the commonwealth.
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