The editorial “A dark cloud in King County over strides in smoking cessation” [Opinion, Jan. 13] raises a great point that we must do more locally to address tobacco use and prevention.
As a local cardiologist and Board president for the American Heart Association — Puget Sound, I would underscore that while the U.S. has made amazing progress in the fight against tobacco, we cannot declare victory yet. Tobacco remains the nation’s No. 1 cause of preventable death. We have a lot of work too in addressing the disparities that make some segments of our community more likely to be smokers. There are so many lives to be saved.
Currently Washington state does not use one penny of tobacco revenue to fight tobacco use. We now have an additional $10.5 million coming from the Master Settlement Agreement, and an opportunity to change.
I implore state legislators to dedicate that funding to tobacco prevention. The tobacco industry still spends $88 million annually to make tobacco appealing for our kids. Washington has already shown itself to be a national leader on so many fronts, so let us show the rest of the country what kicking the smoking habit really means.
Joshua Buckler, Seattle