Idaho lawmakers hoping to use US$5.7M from nationwide tobacco settlement to help fund smoking cessation programs, substance abuse treatment

BOISE, Idaho , February 2, 2012 () – State lawmakers want to use $5.7 million from a nationwide tobacco settlement for smoking cessation programs and substance abuse treatment.

Idaho currently gets money annually from the 1998 settlement with the nation's five largest tobacco companies. The money goes into an account called the "Millennium Fund," and lawmakers allocate 5 percent each year to spend on smoking prevention and related health programs.

The committee that shepherds the fund voted 8-2 on Wednesday to recommend spending on a dozen programs, with the largest payment at $2 million going to the state Department of Health and Welfare.

Democratic Reps. John Rusche, of Lewiston, and Wendy Jaquet, of Ketchum, voted against the plan. They favored an additional $1 million for the Department of Health and Welfare's tobacco cessation services.

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