American Lung Association’s ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ Gives Massachusetts Mixed Grades for Efforts to Save Lives by Reducing Tobacco Use
(February 3, 2016) -
Today, the American Lung Association released its 14th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report that finds that in 2015 Massachusetts made progress on tobacco control policies that will save lives. The report also finds that most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States’ overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease.
“While we celebrate successful tobacco control policies in Massachusetts like its efforts to regulate e-cigarette use by restricting sales to those 18 years and older, we still must face the reality that young people are using tobacco products like e-cigarettes and little cigars at an all-time high,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Nearly a quarter of high school students nationwide are using tobacco products, and it is essential that Massachusetts continue to take aggressive action to reduce all tobacco use – the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in our nation.”
The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failure of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use. The report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.
“State of Tobacco Control 2016” finds Massachusetts mixed grades show that progress is possible, although even more needs to be done by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:
• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding Grade – F
• Tobacco Taxes - Grade A
• Smokefree Air - Grade A
• Access to Cessation Services - Grade D
The American Lung Association of the Northeast calls on Massachusetts to act on increasing funding for the state’s tobacco control program to $9 million per year, include e-cigarettes and all other tobacco derived products as part of the state’s definition of tobacco and increase access to tobacco cessation treatments and services.
As of January 31, 2016, the Obama Administration had not yet given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight authority over all tobacco products including cigars, e-cigarettes, little cigars and hookah (commonly referred to as the deeming rule). The grade of “I” for Incomplete for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products is assigned because the final rule is expected at any time. Other federal grades include a “C” for Federal Cessation Coverage, an “F” for Tobacco Taxes and a “B” for its Mass Media Campaigns, a new grading area in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.
“It’s not a secret how we can reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Casey Harvell, Director of Public Policy for Massachusetts. “We must demand that our elected officials in Massachusetts urgently act to implement these proven policies to save lives.”
For media interested in speaking with an expert about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected].