State of Tobacco Control 2014

Reno, NV (January 22, 2014)

Nevada continued to do little to relieve the state of the incredible burden of tobacco in 2013.  Not only do employees and patrons of casinos continue to be exposed to deadly secondhand smoke but the state again fell short in adequately funding prevention programs to protect children and curb tobacco-related disease in 2013.  Those were the findings of the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014” report released today.   Fifty years since the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was issued on January 11, 1964, the Lung Association’s new report finds that Nevada must once and for all commit to eliminate tobacco-caused death and disease.

“Despite great strides in reducing smoking rates in America, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S.,” said Lisa Genasci, Executive Director at the American Lung Association in Nevada  “We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of Americans of their health and future. We cannot afford another 50 years of tobacco use,” Genasci urged.

The Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014,” its 12th annual report, tracks yearly progress on key tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, assigning grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.  The 2014 report highlights the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 Surgeon General’s report that linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases for the first time.

Nevada received the following grades for 2013.

Tobacco Prevention and Control Funding Programs – F
Smokefree Air – C
Cigarette Tax – D
Cessation Coverage - F

“Nevada again failed to make any significant progress protecting citizens from the dangers of tobacco.  Employees and patrons at our state’s casinos and other public places continue to be exposed to deadly secondhand smoke and our state’s investment in tobacco prevention and control programs continues to fall drastically short of the CDC’s recommended guidelines.” said Genasci.

Tobacco causes an estimated 3,310 deaths in Nevada annually and costs the state’s economy $1,611,851,000 in healthcare costs and lost productivity, a tremendous burden that our state can ill afford.

Priorities that must be addressed to improve Nevada’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades in 2014 and beyond include:

  • Making Nevada’s casinos and other public places 100% smokefree by 2019.  
  • Increasing the state’s investment in tobacco prevention and control programs.

“Smokefree workplace laws, high tobacco taxes, funding tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs at recommended levels and providing insurance coverage for quit smoking treatments have been proven to reduce tobacco use.  We urge Nevada voters to let their elected representatives know that these proven public health safeguards must be in place in Nevada,” said Genasci.

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry continued its ruthless pursuit of addicting new users and keeping current users from quitting in 2013.  This included efforts at the federal and state levels to exempt their products from meaningful public health protections.

The three largest cigarette manufacturers—Altria, Reynolds American, and Lorillard—continued their aggressive expansion into tobacco products other than cigarettes in 2013. As cigarette use continues to gradually decline, these companies continue to maintain their stranglehold on America’s youth and reap profits from smokeless tobacco, cigars and now e-cigarettes.

“I urge everyone in the Silver State to join the American Lung Association in Nevada and renew their commitment to preventing another 50 years of tobacco caused death and disease,” said Genasci.   

###

About the American Lung Association in Nevada
ALAN has been improving the lives of Nevadans since 1916 when it was founded as the Nevada Tuberculosis Association to combat the devastating disease of tuberculosis (TB). Since that time, ALAN has remained constant in the fight against lung diseases and the promotion of lung health. Lung disease is the fourth leading cause of death in America and ALAN is often the first point of contact for individuals with lung disease. ALAN provides practical help and education to people living with asthma, emphysema, and other lung diseases, confronting this disease at the root level by educating kids about the dangers of smoking, providing smoking cessation programs, advocating for smoke-free environments, and working to reduce air pollution.