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Study: Tobacco Control Program Reaping Big Health Benefits

A new study from UC San Francisco says California's tobacco control program has reaped enormous public health benefits. Researchers say the program has saved 86-billion dollars in healthcare costs in its first 15 years. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The report says the savings came from cutting the smoking rate, and preventing more than three-and-a-half billion cigarettes from being smoked.

California's tobacco control program includes anti-smoking ads. It's funded by a five-cents-a-pack tax on cigarettes. UC San Francisco's Stanton Glantz says that money doesn't go as far as it did when the program began.

Glantz: Five cents today buys about what two cents bought in 1988. So inflation has severely eroded the value and effectiveness and potency of the program.

Glantz believes if the program was restored to the level of aggressiveness it had in the early 90s, the state could virtually eliminate smoking within five years.

Today, about 13 percent of adults in California smoke.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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