"Raising the price of tobacco is the single most effective way to keep kids from smoking," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It will protect kids. It will save lives. It will save money."
Beyond the question of paying for health care, Obama's budget also takes aim at the growing threat of infectious diseases. A new $40 million program would help CDC's disease detectives nab germs on the brink of an outbreak, particularly drug resistant ones.
New technology called advanced molecular detection would combine supercomputers with a faster ability to decode the DNA of suspect germs — cutting that process to hours instead of days, said Frieden.
The CDC is just beginning some of this work, rapidly spotting important genetic changes in the bird flu now striking China, for example. But Frieden called more work crucial: "If we don't do this, it's going to mean that the microbes are getting the upper hand."
AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.
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