Most states falling short on tobacco policies

(May 20, 2010)

According to a new report released today by the American Lung Association, very few states are funding programs to prevent kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit at levels that truly make a difference in the number of people that smoke. 

In its annual update of State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues or SLATI, the American Lung Association tracks the passage of laws and other state policies related to preventing tobacco use, including tobacco taxes, smokefree laws and funding for tobacco control programs as of January 2, 2010. SLATI is the only comprehensive and up-to-date source for state tobacco control laws across the country. 

To date, 27 states – including Michigan and Wisconsin in 2009 – have passed comprehensive laws prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces. Kansas was the most recent state to pass a smokefree law, which will take effect July 1, 2010.  A map illustrating the nation's progress towards becoming smokefree can also be found online on the Smokefree Challenge page.

In addition, a whopping 14 states –Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin – as well as the District of Columbia – increased their cigarette taxes in 2009.  As of January 1, 2010, the average state cigarette tax stood at $1.34 per pack – a dramatic increase from only 44.6 cents per pack on January 1, 2002.  Five states – Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah and Washington – have increased their cigarette taxes so far in 2010. 

SLATI 2009 complements an American Lung Association report released in January 2010, the State of Tobacco Control 2009 report, which gives grades to states for their tobacco control laws and policies. For more information, visit the State of Tobacco Control website.