February 21, 2001
RYAN PROPOSAL DOUBLES TOBACCO PREVENTION FUNDING
SPRINGFIELD Governor George H. Ryan today proposed a Fiscal Year 2002 budget of $287 million for the Illinois Department of Public Health that includes a commitment to double tobacco settlement funds to $40 million for state and local strategies to prevent tobacco use.
"Tobacco use, particularly smoking cigarettes, is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in Illinois and the nation," Ryan said. "Any success in improving the health status of our citizens depends on achieving dramatic reductions in the use of tobacco by adults and children. These dollars demonstrate our commitment to decrease the future health burden of tobacco-related disease and death."
The department's budget request recommends $122.1 million in general revenue funds, a 0.8 percent increase over the current fiscal year spending plan.
Governor Ryan recommended devoting $21 million in tobacco settlement dollars to the department for anti-tobacco efforts, including funding to continue a pilot youth tobacco prevention program that began last year in Winnebago County called "I Decide" and expand it to other areas of the state. Another $15 million, an increase of $5 million from the current spending year, would be provided to the state's 94 local health departments to implement local youth and other anti-tobacco initiatives.
Additionally, $2.2 million will go to the University of Chicago for Juvenile Diabetes research and $1.8 million will be provided to the SIU School of Medicine for the Regional Cancer Research Center.
"Annually, tobacco use causes more than 19,000 deaths in Illinois," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Most of these people began using tobacco in early adolescence, typically by age 16. To prevent another generation from being plagued by tobacco addiction, we must try innovative ways to encourage young people not to take up smoking or to quit if they have already started. Studies have demonstrated that if young people don't smoke as teenagers, it is unlikely they will ever do so."
The Governor's budget includes $1 million in additional state funding for the department's Office of Women's Health to expand a program that provides breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for uninsured and underinsured women. The proposed spending plan would allow the statewide program to increase the number of women served from about 12,000 a year to 15,000 a year.
The target population for the program are women 40 to 64 years of age, women with incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level and women from racial and ethnic minority groups. The $4.5 million effort is funded by a combination of state and federal dollars.
Ryan also recommended $574,200 be spent by the department to address the threat of emerging environmental health issues, such as the mosquito-borne West Nile virus and the mercury contamination of residential homes.
The department would enhance its surveillance for mosquito-borne viruses, including the West Nile virus that was first found in the northeastern U.S. in 1999 and moved as far west as Pennsylvania in just one year. Part of the money would be earmarked to provide financial support to local health departments with large populations to develop plans to respond to possible outbreaks of West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.
The funding also would provide resources to support assistance and oversight of the nearly 1 million residents potentially affected by accidental mercury spills linked to the removal of old gas regulators. Already the department has assisted in evaluating more than 300,000 homes with possible mercury spills, performing air sampling and answering public inquiries.
Other budget highlights include
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