News Release


DATE: January 8, 2003

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



San Diego County's use of tobacco settlement funds has earned highpraise from the American Lung Association, following the release of a reportgrading the state's performance in reducing tobacco use.

Local ALA officials lauded the County for being one of the first touse all of its tobacco settlement funds for health care programs. The compliment was given after release of ALA's State of Tobacco Control report.

"The County of San Diego really set a standard with regard to how tobacco funds should be spent, and I'm very pleased that an organization like the American Lung Association has recognized us for that," said Fourth District Supervisor Ron Roberts. Roberts, along with Second District Supervisor Dianne Jacob, first proposed spending all of the County's tobacco funds on health care and tobacco control programs.

"We've worked hard to reduce the devastating effects of tobacco use on our residents, and it makes sense to use these much-needed funds for that and other health care needs," said Jacob.

"When it comes to program funding, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has led the way as the first county to invest all $29.4 million of its annual tobacco settlement funds in health care and tobacco control," said Debra Kelley, vice president of Government Relations for the American Lung Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties in an ALA press release.

The County's settlement funds support a comprehensive tobacco control strategy to reduce tobacco use among young people and adults, as well as health programs that promote access to quality health care, improve mental health services, promote healthy lifestyles, reduce violence and chronic disease, reduce alcohol and other drug abuse, and improve health status indicators among populations prone to health difficulties.