American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2015” Report Shows Iowa is Failing to Save Lives by Reducing Tobacco Use
(January 21, 2015)
Today, the American Lung Association released its 13th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report that found that in 2014 Iowa failed to enact tobacco control policies that will save lives and help end the tobacco epidemic. The report finds most states and the federal government earn poor grades, and tobacco control progress is at a standstill.
“Although Iowa received an A for our Smokefree Air Act, Iowa received in F in the other categories including tobacco prevention and control funding, tobacco taxes and access to cessation services. In order to reduce smoking rates and save lives it’s imperative that Iowa steps up and starts supporting funding for the key initiatives,” said Micki Sandquist, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Iowa.
“State of Tobacco Control 2015” evaluates tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, and assigns grades based on whether laws protect citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives. The new report comes following the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s report, which first sounded the alarm on the dangers of smoking. Now 51 years later, tobacco use kills almost half a million Americans and causes up to $333 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity each year. In 2014, the American Lung Association and its partners called for immediate action on tobacco use by all levels of government to achieve three bold goals:
• Reduce smoking rates, currently at about 18 percent, to less than 10 percent by 2024;
• Protect all Americans from secondhand smoke by 2019; and
• Ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.
“The American Lung Association is urging states and the federal government to take needed steps to achieve these bold goals,” said Tammy Steinwandt, supporter and advocate for the Lung Association in Iowa. “It’s no secret how to reduce tobacco use in the United States, our state and federal leaders need to muster the political will to implement these proven policies. Our nation cannot afford the health or financial consequences of their continued failure to act.”
Grades for Iowa
“State of Tobacco Control 2015” finds state level progress on proven tobacco control policies all-but stalled in 2014. Iowa’s failing grade(s) reflects this trend of missed opportunities by our elected officials to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives.
• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – Grade F
• Tobacco Taxes - Grade F
• Smokefree Air - Grade A
• Access to Cessation Services - Grade F
View Iowa’s detailed scorecard at www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org
Priorities that must be addressed to improve Iowa’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades in 2015 include: Iowa’s grades will only get better if Iowa’s elected officials address the following goals:
1. Increase funding to the Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control to fiscal year 2008 levels ($12.29 million)
2. Make taxes on all other tobacco products equivalent to the cigarette tax
3. Increase the cigarette tax.
“This is a report card Iowa shouldn’t be proud of.” “Leaders in Iowa must step up to provide smokers with the support they need to quit and adequately fund prevention programs that help keep our kids off tobacco,” said Steinwandt.
“State of Tobacco Control 2015” uses updated methodology to reflect the updated 2014 CDC Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. It also incorporates other tobacco product taxes and tobacco cessation coverage under Medicaid expansion into the grades. Because of revisions to the methodology, all grades from State of Tobacco Control 2015 cannot be directly compared to grades from State of Tobacco Control 2014 or earlier reports.
About the American Lung Association
Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.” For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to http://www.lung.org