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TX Public Health Coaltion suggests how lawmakers can "save money, save lives"

**TX Public Health Coaltion suggests how lawmakers can "save money, save lives"**



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March 2011 news conference by members of the Texas Public Health Coalition, suggesting to Texas legislators how they can save money while saving lives this session. The group of physicians, nurses and other health care stakeholders endorsed several bills while opposing planned budget cuts to tobacco and obesity programs.
we're here today to lay out the coalition's position on parts of the proposed state budget and to announce our endorsement of eight key bills now the state of Texas faces a huge budget crisis the people of Texas face a huge health crisis We strongly encourage our senators and representatives to make healthy choices today that can both help them balance the budget and help Texans live longer healthier and more productive lives Texas can no longer afford to indulge the smoking and eating habits of some at a huge cost to all Texas taxpayers tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Texas period nearly 25,000 deaths each year in Texas are linked to tobacco the direct and indirect costs of smoking in Texas is 20 billion dollars a year the draft state budget in both the House and Senate cut about 23 million dollars in state and federal funds from tobacco control programs this cut amounts to four-fifths of our very meager tobacco control budget we oppose this cut as being penny wise perhaps but very pound foolish the cost to the state for these bills is absolutely zero but the savings are advanced a report that was released last week suggested that if we had an indoor smoking ban it would save Texas Texas legislatures Texas business and individual Texans and more than 400 million dollars a year prohibiting indoor smoking will make a big difference in the number of heart attacks in the number of asthma premature births and other diseases from which millions of textin suffer it would also make a huge difference in the state budget obesity costs Texas business is almost ten billion dollars and that's projected to exceed thirty two billion dollars by 2030 obesity is responsible for a twenty-seven percent increase in health spending more than five million texans are obese and that's expected to double over the next twenty years meaning that by 2040 at least seventy-five percent of texans will be overweight or obese increasingly this crisis is beginning in childhood and texas is tied for seventh place among states in the share of its children that are obese despite all this the draft state budgets are going the wrong way they would cut 4.8 million dollars that's all state funding for obesity prevention programs they would cut public school health programs by over two-thirds 65 million dollars once again we oppose these cuts as penny wise but pound very foolish