(UNDATED) - Anti-smoking advocates aren't pleased with budget cuts for the state's stop-smoking efforts.
The new budget allocates five-million dollars a year for the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation office. That's down from eight-million in the current budget, and it could have been even less -- both Governor Pence and Senate Republicans proposed cutting the program in half.
Lindsay Grace with the American Lung Association-Indiana credits the program with bringing smoking rates to record lows, though the percentage of smokers in Indiana remains among the nation's highest. She says she's concerned the funding cuts will force program reductions and bring those improvements to a halt.
Grace contends the state would recover many times of the cost of beefed-up stop-smoking efforts through reduced health-care costs.
The Indiana State Department of Health, which oversees the stop-smoking office, declined comment beyond a written statement declaring tobacco prevention remains a top priority, and that programs such as the toll-free Tobacco Quitline will continue.
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