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Best Practice

Vol. 9, nos. 3 & 4

On Delivery of Legal Assistance to Older Persons

December 1998

Key Strategies for Obtaining Tobacco Settlement Funds for Aging Programs

We have been asked by aging advocates in numerous states for advice on strategies to use in seeking funds for aging programs. The following is a listing of tips:

  1. Think big! (Millions of new dollars are coming to the states, so don't think small. One state's proposed over $40 million annually for the prescription drug program for seniors.)

  2. Be politically realistic in what you seek.

  3. Focus on just one (or two at most) programs on aging for which to seek funds.

  4. Form partnerships/coalitions with tobacco control groups in your state, as well as aging, children's and health groups/coalitions, and try to reach consensus among you about spending priorities for the tobacco settlement funds.

  5. Support major funding for tobacco control, prevention and cessation programs -- including programs which focus on smoking cessation for elders and clean indoor air laws.

  6. Begin immediately discussing with key Executive Branch officials and with key legislators the need for some tobacco settlement funds to go to aging programs.

  7. Constantly emphasize that older Americans are the primary victims of tobacco-related diseases. Always refer to the facts that: over 94% of tobacco-related deaths annually in the U.S. are to persons aged 50 and over, and over 70% of the total deaths are to persons aged 65 and over -- and almost 500,000 tobacco-related deaths occur annually in the U.S.

  8. Use TCSG's data/materials; visit our web site at for new information; and call us for assistance. We want you to obtain some of these funds for older persons -- they are the victims, and they deserve to benefit from the settlement.

For more detailed information, call Jim Bergman at (734) 665-1126. This is an opportunity that comes only once; lets make sure the Aging Network takes advantage of it.

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The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.
A National Support Center in Law and Aging
2307 Shelby Avenue  Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Tel: (734) 665-1126  Fax: (734) 665-2071