Two legislative committees approved a plan Tuesday to spend millions of dollars more on helping people quit smoking and preventing others from taking up the habit.
The state's Tobacco and Health Trust Fund proposed spending $6.8 million in 2009. The plan includes $2 million for the state's "Quitline" telephone counseling service so it can resume offering nicotine replacement therapies.
They also plan to spend $2 million for a new statewide anti-smoking media campaign and $1.2 million for smoking cessation programs for people with serious mental illness.
Their plan also includes $500,000 for a new school-based smoking prevention pilot program for 10 to 20 school districts, and $250,000 for a lung cancer tissue repository and database to identify high risk groups.
The fund was started in 1999. It is financed by the state's share of a national settlement with major tobacco companies. About $2.3 million has been spent since 2003. A new law has allowed more money to be spent on cessation programs.
Connecticut has been criticized in the past for not dedicating more of the settlement funds to smoking prevention and cessation.
"This will actually move us from the very bottom of the states, where we are now, to the middle of the pack," said Anne Foley, the trust's chairwoman.