JOPLIN, MO.--- "It's much more difficult to talk about the benefits of not using tobacco products to people who are already using them," states Ted Easley, American Cancer Society.
A recent study shows how states stack up in their efforts to fund smoking prevention programs.
"Smoking cessation programs work. People have to be motivated," states Easley.
Here's the breakdown in the Four States: Missouri ranks near the bottom at 46, while Kansas ranks 39, Oklahoma ranked higher at 7, and Arkansas at 6.
"Missouri is a hard place. There are a lot of smokers in Missouri, and certainly they make their voice known as well," says Easley.
Missouri spends only .1% of what the CDC recommends for smoking cessation programs.
"Improved health in Missouri is a much less expensive thing to fund than putting money into treatment," explains Easley.
On the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma spends nearly 44% of what the CDC encourages.
"Those investments are paying off, we think we're on the right track in terms of getting out there and getting prevention and spreading the word about the harms of smoking," states Easley.
No matter what their ranking, people in both states agree that spending more will make for a healthier public in the long run.
"Increased funding for tobacco prevention on a public basis will have long term benefits in that when people don't smoke their health improves," states Easley.
Employees at the American Cancer Society recommend people in Missouri ask their legislators for programs that will encourage people to stop smoking.