Lung Association Honors World No Tobacco Day on May 31

(May 31, 2012)

The American Lung Association joins the World Health Organization (WHO) in honoring World No Tobacco Day on Thursday, May 31. The theme this year is Tobacco Industry Interference and focuses on the need to expose and counter the industry's increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine global tobacco control efforts.

What we’re seeing in the Northeast, and elsewhere in the country, is point of sale tobacco marketing cleverly designed to appeal to children. On World No Tobacco Day, we want to draw attention to the fact that when these tobacco displays are placed prominently at checkout counters next to candy and gum, it encourages kids to smoke.World No Tobacco Day 2012

Big Tobacco spends almost $29 million in marketing PER DAY. Meanwhile, states are failing to adequately invest in proven policies and programs to counteract this rampant tobacco marketing. About 3,000 American teenagers start smoking each day, roughly one million new teenage smokers annually; a third of whom will ultimately die from their addiction.

The Lung Association released the 10th edition of State of Tobacco Control, a report card designed to highlight state and federal government’s efforts to fight tobacco use in the United States. The Northeast states’ grades ranged from ‘A’s to ‘F’s among four categories: Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending, Smokefree Air, Cigarette Tax, and Cessation Coverage.

The Northeast boasts the three highest cigarette taxes in the nation – New York State at $4.35; Rhode Island at $3.46; and Connecticut at $3.40. Connecticut and Vermont were the only two states in the nation to raise the cigarette tax in 2011; Vermont by 38 cents and Connecticut by 40 cents on July 1. Conversely, New Hampshire decreased their cigarette tax by 10 cents.

Maine was the only state in the Northeast to receive all passing grades, although receiving a ‘D’ for Tobacco Prevention and Control spending. Not one state of all seven Northeastern states even came close to the CDC’s recommended level for Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending.

What does this mean? Tobacco use continues to reap a devastating toll, remaining the leading cause of preventable death as 443,000 people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke exposure. It also drains the economy of an enormous sum, more than $193 billion annually in healthcare costs and lost productivity. You can help stop the backsliding in tobacco control that puts more and more Americans at risk. To join the Lung Association in advocating for strong tobacco control policies at the federal, state and local level; sign up to become an e-advocate.

To learn more about the Lung Association’s programs to help adults quit smoking, visit Freedom From Smoking® Online at The American Lung Association also offers a free Lung HelpLine staffed by trained cessation counselors at 1.800.LUNGUSA (1.800.586.4872).

# # #