Should Pennsylvania's share of a $246 billion tobacco settlement be used only for anti-smoking and other health-related causes, or can some of it be spent for other purposes? That's the debate facing Pennsylvania state lawmakers now. Considering some of the oddball proposals now surfacing, citizens ought to pay close attention.
For example, one proposal would use $1 million of the cash to clean grime off the ornate marble of the 93-year-old state capital building, on the premise that decades of heavy smoking deposited at least some of the dirt there.
Other, less specific proposals would put aside some of Pennsylvania's $11.3 billion share for bridge and road repair, although there's been no attempt (so far) to link wear and tear on these infrastructure items to tobacco use.
We agree with Gary Pincock, the Pennsylvania director of the American Cancer Society, who says all of the money should be reserved for public-health programs, with at least 30 percent going to programs that help people stop smoking, or keep them from ever starting to puff.