Washington Has Mixed Results in Working to Reduce Tobacco Use

(January 16, 2013)

Contact: Carrie Nyssen
360.921.1484
cnyssen@lungmtpacific.org

Washington Has Mixed Results in Working to Reduce Tobacco Use
New American Lung Association Report Follows Money Trail to See How Tobacco Industry Addicts Kids

(SEATTLE, WA) [EMBARGOED UNTIL: 5 a.m. EST, January 16, 2013] – Washington state
took steps forward to reduce tobacco use in some areas, but fell short in adequately
funding programs to protect children and curb tobacco-related disease in 2012
according to the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2013” report
released today.

The Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” report tracks 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.

Washington received the following grades for 2012:
F - Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding
A - Smokefree Air
A - Cigarette Tax
F - Cessation Coverage

The 11th annual report shows how money is often at the root of the leading cause of
preventable death, as state and federal policymakers’ efforts are falling short against a
deep-pocketed, ever-evolving tobacco industry.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics released a report today in conjunction
with “State of Tobacco Control 2013” called “Big Tobacco Wins Tax Battles,” revealing
preliminary data showing that tobacco manufacturers and retailers gave $53.4 million
to state candidates for office, political parties and to oppose tobacco-related ballot
measures during the 2011-2012 election cycle. This figure includes spending over $46
million to defeat California’s initiative to increase the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack.
Tobacco manufacturers and retailers gave significant amounts of money to candidates
in the following states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Missouri.

Although Washington state receives $571 million in tobacco-related revenue annually, it
spends a meager 3.7 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommends to fund tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs. Nationally, the
failure of states to invest in policies and programs to reduce tobacco use has resulted in
3 million new youth and young adult smokers in the United States, according to the U.S.
Surgeon General.

Sadly, Washington joins many other states in neglecting to properly invest its annual
tobacco settlement funds and tobacco taxes to implement proven tactics that save lives
and reduce tobacco-related disease.

“Washington must make it a priority to invest in programs that keep kids off tobacco
and help smokers quit,” said Carrie Nyssen, Regional Director of Advocacy for the
American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. “That starts with reinvesting in our
state tobacco prevention and cessation programs.”

Each year, 443,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke
exposure. Tobacco causes an estimated 7,600 deaths in Washington annually and costs
the state’s economy $3.7 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity, a tremendous
burden that our state can ill afford.

Yet, amidst an overall lackluster year for nationwide tobacco control, Washington stands
out by its comprehensive, strong smokefree law and its high state excise tax on
cigarettes.

Tobacco companies continue to introduce and promote new products, such as candyflavored
cigars and dissolvable tobacco products. Youth, people who are low income,
Hispanics and LGBT individuals who smoke cigars are more likely to smoke flavored
cigars, according to a recent study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Meanwhile, the
sales and popularity of these tobacco products have surged in large part due to their
cheaper price. Each day, roughly 3,000 youths smoke a cigar for the first time.

“There are welcome opportunities in the future,” continued Ms. Nyssen. “While no
state earned an A or B on its report card for cessation, the Affordable Care Act creates
new pathways to help smokers quit. That is why Washington should include a cessation
benefit in our Essential Health Benefit and Medicaid expansion plans.”

###

About the American Lung Association in Washington
The American Lung Association in Washington is a non-profit, voluntary public health organization, working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease in Washington. Our programs focus on the areas of asthma, clean air, tobacco prevention and lung disease.

For more information about the American Lung Association in Washington or to support the work it does, call (206) 441-5100 or visit www.lung.org/washington.