Tobacco Funds Shrink as Childhood Obesity Fight Intensifies
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
The New York Time’s reported on Tuesday that more money is now being granted to the fight against childhood obesity, rather than to longstanding anti-tobacco campaigns. In 1991, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation became the largest private funding source for fighting smoking. They spent $700 million to help get Joe Camel out of advertisements, advocated for higher cigarette taxes and smoke-free air laws and aided in reducing the nationâ€™s smoking rate almost by half. A few years ago, the Foundation pledged to spend $500 million in five years on the childhood obesity fight. It was reported that they spent $58 million last year on the obesity efforts, granting only $4 million to the anti-smoking efforts.
The anti-obesity fight has full support from the White House with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. The administration has funded this anti-obesity initiative with $1.15 billion, which came from economic stimulus and health care reform legislation. They provided more than $200 million for tobacco-use prevention, but much more was used for the obesity fight.
These two main public health issues now seem to be competing for attention. Dr. Steven A. Schroeder, former president of the Johnson Foundation, recognizes that childhood obesity is winning that current fight for attention. â€śThe sad thing is, smoking, despite all the harm it does, is left pretty much an orphan,â€ť Schroeder said.