Sabatini huffed, and he puffed, and found anti-smoking funds

May 27, 1992|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- True to his word, the state health department secretary has found the money for an anti-smoking media campaign.

Secretary Nelson J. Sabatini vowed earlier this month to go forward with the anti-cancer program despite attempts by legislators and the tobacco industry to restrict the expenditures.

Yesterday the Board of Public Works approved a $3.1 million, three-year media blitz to discourage Marylanders from smoking and to encourage women to be tested regularly for cervical and breast cancer.

In the waning days of the 1992 General Assembly session, however, budget negotiators restricted to $250,000 the amount of money the campaign could spend in fiscal 1993 on media, advertising and public relations.

Tobacco lobbyists applauded the restriction.

The health department, however, has worked around that by diverting $805,000 from its budget for medical laboratory tests by increasing its lab fees, said the governor's budget secretary, Charles L. Benton Jr.

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