News: OH Takes money from Antis Page 2

Ohio More Anti Groups lose funding

Health board snuffs out two tobacco-related positions
* State reductions force local agencies to cut back tobacco-prevention efforts.
By BRET LIEBENDORFER
June 9, 2008
Two tobacco-prevention positions will be abolished from the Delaware General Health District because of the reduction of state funding.

ANTI-SMOKING PROGRAMS
Tobacco grants’ funding dries up
June 7, 2008
By Dana Wilson, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Community-health agencies statewide learned this week that grant contracts with the former Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation will not be honored by the Ohio Department of Health.
The state agency mailed 54 letters last week, breaking the news to public health departments, hospitals, medical centers and others that rely on tobacco money.
Current grants will stop June 30, leaving many agencies and roughly 400 employees in the lurch. The funding loss will affect tobacco-prevention efforts in schools, community coalitions, cessation treatments and health programs that help the state’s minority and impoverished residents.
“Basically, everything statewide is shutting down,” said Shelly Kiser, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association of Ohio.
After reviewing the defunct tobacco foundation’s contracts, the state Health Department terminated awards because it does not have the funds to give, spokesman Kristopher Weiss said.
Last month, Gov. Ted Strickland signed a bill to dissolve the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation and divert $230 million of its $270 million endowment to a statewide economic-development package. The $40 million balance was to be transferred to the Health Department.
But the money is frozen while the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington-based anti-smoking group, fights in court to gain control of the endowment money.
Meanwhile, agencies funded by tobacco grants are scrambling to find a way to continue existing programming, Kiser said.
The loss is significant for the Fairfield Department of Health, which oversees grants for Fairfield, Hocking, Licking, Perry, Pickaway, Ross and Vinton counties.
The department had anticipated receiving $473,820 during the next three years. “I know there are some counties that have already laid employees off, (and) others that are doing their best to try and retain their employees,” said Pat Navin, director of community health development.
The Delaware General Health District expects to lay off two employees at the end of the month.
In Licking County, health educator Mary Siembida said much of her grant-funded work has been focused on teaching children and teenagers the dangers of smoking.
“It’s kind of scary, not just because of jobs being lost but because of our youth being exposed to this,” Siembida said. “Tobacco companies aren’t going to stop advertising.”
Although the Franklin County Board of Health did not receive grant money from the former foundation, it served as a helpful resource for education and communication, said Susan Tilgner, health commissioner. “We’ll feel a loss.”

Smokers have paid health costs twice
May 16, 2008
Blade Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Provance’s recent story about the state’s tobacco money left me a bit confused. In 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the cost of smoking and compared it to that period’s much lower cigarette taxes. Even back then, it seems, smokers were paying for their own healthcare with extra left over for the health care of nonsmokers.
In 1998, the federal government wanted money from Big Tobacco to pay for the sick smokers who’d already paid for themselves, and Big Tobacco and the Feds signed the Master Settlement Agreement. Basically they agreed to add a new 50-cent “tax” on cigarettes so smokers could pay for their healthcare a second time. Of course, smokers didn’t get a vote on this; they were just the sheep the wolves were having for dinner.
So smokers paid for their healthcare twice, then watched that money be spent on wonderful things such as golf courses, road construction, and lots and lots of ads saying that smokers are smelly and dirty and are killing little children.
But now, in 2008, the anti-smoking groups that have been getting fat off smokers’ money all these years want smokers to pay the same bill a third time … except this time they don’t even pretend it’s for the cost of sick smokers, it will just go directly to anti-smoking groups to promote ideas like firing smokers for smoking at home or taking children from smoking parents.
Meanwhile, everyone blames smokers for driving up health costs while insurance companies slap them with surcharges. And if those smokers lie about smoking? Well, if they work for Whirlpool, they’ll find themselves on the unemployment line while they’re still paying for everyone else’s healthcare.
Michael J. McFadden
Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”
Philadelphia


Ohio
May 10, 2008
???
Thanks goodness for politicians with some balls!? I don’t know if I have felt this good since I graduated from high school.? I loved it when the state legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that would, for all intents and purposes, spend the last of Ohio’s multibillion-dollar share of the national settlement with major tobacco companies.? I grew up in a nibbing nanny community of hypocrites like Harper Valley PTA and do enjoying seeing the anti-smoking fanatics finally defamed in all this.

Anti-smoking zealots, don’t mess with Governor Strickland!? Great to see the defiance of Strickland and the legislature! Stripping away funding helped to bring the end of Alcohol Prohibition in the 1930’s, and tobacco prohibitions will end the same way.? As the US heads into economic hard times again more legislators will begin snatching funds from the anti-smokers.? According to an old saying, “What goes around comes around,” and to see the atrocities of the last several years now coming back to haunt the anti-smoking zealots, biting them in their asses, is poetic justice at its very finest. May it be the START of real justice for all the private business owners who have weathered this horrible storm.

Admittedly, I made the “clean house”, straight ticket vote here in Ohio in 2006.? I usually don’t do that, but the Taft administration was so corrupt it just had to be done.? Marc Dann has been a major disappointment.? So far he has been the most vocal anti, and just look at all the skeletons in HIS closet.? May the skeletons continue to be discovered with ALL the prohibitionists.

I have said many times there would have to be a scandal to bring down the anti-smoking nuts, despite their seeming stranglehold on the media and their sheer arrogance in thinking they were untouchable as they continued to spew one lie after another.

I would say trying to hide state anti-tobacco funds from the governor IS QUITE a scandal, wouldn’t you?
– A Newsletter Reader


Ohio House passes bill to raid state’s anti-tobacco fund
Proposal to redirect $230M to stimulus package expected to clear Senate
May 1, 2008
By JIM PROVANCE, BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
COLUMBUS – When Ohio created a separate foundation to fund its fight against tobacco in 2000, there were lawmakers who predicted the General Assembly wouldn’t be able to keep its hands off the money.
It took eight years, but yesterday the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would, for all intents and purposes, spend the last of Ohio’s multibillion-dollar share of the national settlement with major tobacco companies.
The bill, expected to pass the Senate next week, will kill the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation. The agency angered Gov. Ted Strickland and the Republican-controlled General Assembly when it opted to sue the state rather than acquiesce to their raid of 85 percent of its bank account to help pay for a bipartisan $1.57 billion economic stimulus package.
A series of witnesses yesterday cited statistic after statistic on tobacco use in an attempt to convince the House Finance and Appropriations Committee that it was being shortsighted in sending the bill to the floor. But a Columbus social worker angrily took a different tack, presenting herself as the face of roughly 400 people whose jobs are dependent on grants issued by the foundation, jobs that she said likely would be lost in the name of job creation.
“Our programs have been more than effective, and yet we are being forced to end,” said Gretchen Clark Hammond, an employee of Amethyst, Inc., an addiction treatment organization. “For years we have suffered through shortsighted decisions that were supposed to ‘help’ the economy, eight years of [settlement] payments directed to ‘help the economy,’•” she said. “Clearly, these strategies are not working, because here we are yet again trying to help the economy.”
As of yesterday the foundation’s endowment held $271 million. The original plan was for the endowment to hold in excess of $1 billion so that the foundation’s anti-smoking marketing campaign and treatment programs could operate in perpetuity on investment earnings.
But lawmakers have repeatedly redirected settlement checks to other purposes, and now have proposed taking $230 million.
“We’re trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number of Ohioans,” said Rep. Jay Hottinger (R., Newark), the bill’s sponsor.
Some lawmakers made it clear that they resented the foundation’s attempt to give $190 million to a Washington-based, nonprofit agency with a similar anti-tobacco mission. A Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge issued a temporary restraining order to protect the money from either side until after he holds a hearing next Thursday.
“Hopefully, this body will recognize that punishment of a renegade state agency should take a back seat to doing what is in the best interest of the citizens of this great state,” said Mike Renner, the foundation’s executive director.
The bill is designed to weaken the crux of the foundation’s case. It ends the foundation as an independent agency, rolling its functions and the roughly $40 million remaining in its coffers into the state Department of Health.
The health department would use the remaining $40 million to meet the foundation’s contractual obligations through June 30. After that, the department has the option of using the remaining $20 million to $25 million to continue anti-tobacco programs like those operated by the foundation.
But Mr. Renner noted that, assuming the department invests the money to operate off of investment earnings, the state would spend just $1 million to $2 million a year on tobacco prevention. The foundation currently spends in excess of $40 million a year.


State Moves To End Tobacco Foundation
April 29, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio lawmakers plan to snuff out the foundation created to fight tobacco use in Ohio.
The state had created the Ohio Tobacco Prevention foundation with Ohio’s share of a 1998 settlement with tobacco companies.
But now, with the help of the governor, the Ohio House and Senate plan to act quickly to shut down the agency, ONN’s Dan Weist reported.
“We have plan that will benefit a greater number of Ohioans and stimulate the economy,” said Rep. Jay Hottinger, a republican from Ohio’s 71th District in Newark.
Rep. Hottinger sponsored the bill would put the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation out of business.
The foundation recently sued the state to recover millions of dollars after Governor Strickland had moved most of it’s budget to a new jobs program.
House Speaker Jon Husted says the lawsuit was factor.
“Rather than waste any more dollars with litigation we are going to put an end to it, once and for all,” said Rep. Husted.
The legislation would give the foundation’s remaining budget of $40 million to the Ohio Department of Health for its own anti-smoking efforts.
Tracy Sabetta of the American Cancer Society and others are livid because some of the foundations program will probably disappear.
“You got a program that is proven and has saved lives and money and the administration and the lawmakers chooses to dissolve it,” said Sabetta.? “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Karen Swan of Columbus used the foundation’s quitline to quit smoking.
Now, that quitline may not survive.?
“I don’t like it,” said Swan, a Columbus resident.? “I know it was helpful to me.? To take it away, it’s not fair.”
The chairman of the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon.
“The Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation is hopeful that the process involved with this legislation will result in what is best for the citizens of Ohio in regard to tobacco control,” said OTPF Chairman David Rummel.? “The nearly two million Ohioans who are still affected by this deadly addiction need and deserve OTPF’s services, which are proven to be up to four times more effective than quitting cold turkey.”
A first hearing and a possible vote could happen Wednesday in the Ohio House and perhaps next week in the Ohio Senate.


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