Durbin Announces $3 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Promote Public Health

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded Illinois $3,122,372 in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support efforts to improve public health by reducing obesity, increasing  physical activity, improving nutrition, and decreasing smoking – the four most important actions for combating chronic diseases and promoting health.  Of today’s funding, $1.5 million will be used to expand tobacco cessation efforts in Illinois – a cause for which Durbin has been a long time advocate.


“Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States,” said Senator Durbin.  “While nicotine is a highly addictive drug, research has confirmed that smoking cessation efforts that include counseling and FDA-approved therapies are extremely effective.  Today’s funding will make a significant investment in expanding access to cessation services and help countless Illinoisans quit smoking.”

Since 2000, Durbin has sponsored legislation that would require Medicare, Medicaid, and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program to cover comprehensive tobacco cessation services. The Senate-passed health care reform bill requires all state Medicaid programs to cover tobacco cessation for pregnant women, and requires Medicare to cover preventive services, including cessation services, with no cost sharing requirements for the beneficiaries.  Tobacco use costs our nation $96 billion annually in health care expenditures, but evidence from rigorous research shows that tobacco cessation treatment is highly cost-effective.

Today’s funding is part of $119 million awarded by HHS nationwide today through its Prevention and Wellness Initiative. The comprehensive initiative funds efforts to help communities and schools support healthy choices through a variety of methods. Methods funded through the initiative include using media to support healthy food and beverage choices, increased physical activity, increased access to health choices and safe places to be active, as well as increased tobacco cessation efforts.