American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2015 Gives Wisconsin Mixed Grades for Efforts to Save Lives by Reducing Tobacco Use Epidemic number of deaths still occurring in Wisconsin and US
(January 27, 2015)
The American Lung Association has released its 13th annual State of Tobacco Control report that found that in 2014 Wisconsin continues to have mixed results in enacting tobacco control policies that will save lives and help end the tobacco epidemic. The report finds that unlike Wisconsin, most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and their tobacco control progress is at a virtual standstill.
“Despite decades of work, tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death, taking the lives of more than 7,000 of Wisconsin’s citizens every year. In any other instance this would be considered pandemic,” said Linda Witucki, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin.
The financial repercussions are equally staggering. Tobacco use costs Wisconsin $4.6 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity. “This is a financial burden that Wisconsin just cannot afford. Reducing this debt should be the state’s number one priority,” said Witucki.
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.
State of Tobacco Control 2015 finds state level progress on proven tobacco control policies all-but stalled in 2014. However, Wisconsin’s mixed grades show that progress is possible, although even more needs to be done 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 B
• Smokefree Air - Grade A
• Access to Cessation Services – Grade F
Priorities that must be addressed to improve Wisconsin’s State of Tobacco Control grades in 2015 include increasing funding for Wisconsin’s highly effective Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Wisconsin receives $645 million in annual tobacco related revenues, yet spends only $5.3 million to prevent youth from smoking and help current smokers quit.
“Funding tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended levels have been proven to reduce tobacco use,” said Witucki. “Even with limited funding, we’ve been able to reduce smoking rates to record lows. But there are still too many deaths and too high a price tag attached to tobacco use.”
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.
You can see how other states scored at www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org.