While Smoking Rates Decline Nationwide, Idaho Can Do More to Reduce Tobacco Use, Save Lives, New American Lung Association Report Finds
(January 24, 2018) - Boise | Idaho
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2018 ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report finds Idaho lawmakers can do more to reduce tobacco use by raising the legal sale age for tobacco products to 21, to ensure all Americans benefit from progress
The American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of Tobacco Control” shows Idaho can do more to save lives by implementing proven tobacco policies. The 16th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that Idaho lags significantly behind the nation to reduce and prevent tobacco use, and state policymakers must do more to prevent the death and disease associated with tobacco use and save lives.
“Nationwide, smoking rates have continued to decline to historically low levels, yet tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease killing over 480,000 Americans each year,” said American Lung Association Executive Director in Idaho, Heather Kimmel. “Tobacco use is a serious addiction, and the fact that 15 percent of Idaho residents are current smokers highlights how much work remains to be done in our communities to prevent and reduce tobacco use.”
This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” finds that more must be done by Governor Butch Otter and the state legislature to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and save lives. Tobacco use claims the lives of 1,800 Idahoans and costs Idahoans $508 million in health care costs each year.
The American Lung Association in Idaho calls on Governor Otter and other Idaho policymakers to take action to decrease the burden of tobacco-related illness and healthcare costs on Idaho residents by raising the legal sale age of tobacco products from 18 to 21.
The report details that, as a result of decades of targeted marketing by the tobacco industry, too many Americans haven’t seen the benefits of reduced smoking rates, and Idaho and the federal government could do more to ensure all Americans benefit from tobacco control efforts. According to the American Lung Association, tobacco is a highly addictive product, and close to 95 percent of smokers try their first cigarette by the age of 21. More must be done to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use in Idaho, and one powerful tool is increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21. In fact, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) found that increasing the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21 could prevent 223,000 deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019, including 50,000 fewer dying from lung cancer – the nation’s leading cancer killer.
“We know how to reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control’ looks at proven methods to save lives and protect the health of all Americans,” said Kimmel. “Idaho elected officials must act to implement proven policies, like raising the legal sale age of tobacco to 21, which will prevent tobacco-caused death and disease, and help keep our lungs healthy.”
For media interested in speaking with an expert about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact Heather Kimmel at the American Lung Association at Heather.Kimmel@Lung.org or (208) 345-2216.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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