Nebraska Failing in its Efforts to Reduce Tobacco Use, Finds American Lung Association National Tobacco Report
‘State of Tobacco Control’ report finds Nebraska has a lot of work to do to protect citizens, youth from the harms of tobacco use, secondhand smoke
(January 25, 2017) - OMAHA, NE
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The American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” report has found that in 2016 Nebraska failed to do enough to implement proven-effective policies that would save lives. The 15th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The report shows that most states and the federal government earned poor grades. Nebraska has not increased the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years old and has one of the lowest tobacco tax rates in the country.
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death and disease in our nation, and 17.1 percent of Nebraska residents currently smoke,” said Amanda Kis, Senior Manager of Tobacco Control & Lung Health of the American Lung Association in Nebraska. “We know what works when it comes to preventing and reducing tobacco use, what we need is Nebraska policymakers to implement the policies and programs called for in ‘State of Tobacco Control’ that would save lives and protect kids from a lifetime of addiction.”
The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failures of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use, and the report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous health toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. This year, the report has added a new grade on efforts to increase the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21.
“Close to 95 percent of adult smokers try their first cigarette before the age of 21,” said Kis. “Increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 will significantly reduce youth tobacco use and save thousands of lives nationwide.”
Nebraska’s failing grades show that much more must be done by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven-effective policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:
- Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
- Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
- Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F
- Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade F
The American Lung Association in Nebraska calls on Nebraska to act on these shortcomings and priority areas that need to be addressed to meet state goals.
In this year’s “State of Tobacco Control,” the federal government earned an “F” for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulation of Tobacco Products. Although the American Lung Association applauds the release of the final rule that gave FDA authority over all tobacco products, the report recognizes the Obama Administration’s failure to proceed with other key initiatives including requiring graphic warning labels on cigarettes and the federal government’s failure to move forward on issuing a rule to end the sale of menthol cigarettes nationwide – despite the recommendations from an FDA expert advisory committee.
Other federal grades include a “C” for Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments, an “F” for Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes and a “B” for its Mass Media Campaigns, including the Tips from Former Smokers Campaign.
“It’s not a secret how to reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Kis. “We must demand that Nebraska elected officials urgently act to implement these proven policies that will save lives and prevent tobacco-caused death and disease.”
About the American Lung Association
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.