While Smoking Rates Decline Nationwide, Wyoming Lags Behind in Efforts to Reduce Tobacco Use, New American Lung Association Report Finds
(January 24, 2018) - Cheyenne | Wyoming
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2018 ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report finds Wyoming lawmakers can do more to reduce tobacco use by supporting and implementing a significant increase in the tobacco tax
The American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of Tobacco Control” shows Wyoming 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 Wyoming can 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 Carrie Nyssen, Vice President of Advocacy for the American Lung Association, Mountain Pacific region. “Tobacco use is a serious addiction. 26% of adults in Wyoming use tobacco; this statistic highlights how much work remains to be done in our communities to prevent and reduce tobacco use.”
This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” identifies opportunities for our lawmakers to adopt policies to reduce tobacco use and safe lives. The report gives Wyoming the following grades:
D Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs
F Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws
F Level of State Tobacco Taxes
F Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco
F Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21
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 Wyoming and the federal government could do more to ensure all Americans benefit from tobacco control efforts. According to the American Lung Association:
- There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and if Wyoming would pass a comprehensive smokefree law that eliminates smoking in all public places and workplaces, workers across the state would benefit. This is especially critical for those who work in the service and manufacturing sectors who are often exposed to secondhand smoke daily. A person should not have to be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke to put food on the table.
- If Wyoming would increase funding for tobacco control programs, they would have a powerful opportunity to target these programs to communities that still use tobacco at higher rates and who have been targeted by the tobacco industry. Wyoming receives $41 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, and should use more of these funds to help prevent tobacco use and help smokers quit.
- Increasing tobacco taxes is one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, not only for low-income individuals but also for youth. This session, the Revenue Committee is sponsoring legislation to increase tobacco taxes by $1.00. To protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction, the Lung Association in Wyoming encourages lawmakers to increase tobacco taxes and ensure the increase will have a meaningful public health benefit.
“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 Nyssen. “Wyoming law makers have an opportunity to act and implement proven policies, 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 Carrie Nyssen at the American Lung Association at Carrie.Nyssen@Lung.org or (503) 718-6140.
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.
American Lung Association • 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150 • Chicago, IL 60601
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org