New Jersey has a Mixed Record in Passing Policies to Reduce Tobacco Use, Save Lives; Finds American Lung Association Report
2018 'State of Tobacco Control' report finds New Jersey lawmakers must still do more to reduce tobacco use by increasing the tobacco tax and creating tax parity between the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes; and securing state tobacco prevention and cessation funding to ensure all Americans benefit from progress
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(January 24, 2018) - NEWARK, N.J.
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The American Lung Association's 2018 "State of Tobacco Control" shows New Jersey earned mixed grades on its tobacco policies. The 16th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that while New Jersey has taken significant steps to reduce tobacco use, including passing a bill to increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21, elected officials must do more to save lives and ensure all New Jersey residents benefit.
"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 more than 480,000 Americans each year," said Deborah P. Brown, Executive Vice President, American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. "Tobacco use is a serious addiction, and the fact that 14 percent of New Jersey 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 New Jersey’s mixed grades show that progress has been made, although more still must be done by newly elected Governor Phil Murphy and the state legislature to enact proven 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 D
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F
- Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade A
The American Lung Association in New Jersey congratulates state lawmakers on increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21, but calls on New Jersey policymakers to act on increasing the tobacco tax and to create tax parity between the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes; and to secure state tobacco prevention and cessation funding.
Sadly, the report also 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 New Jersey and the federal government could do more to ensure all Americans benefit from tobacco control efforts. According to the American Lung Association:
- If New Jersey 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. New Jersey receives $941.9 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 among low-income individuals, but also for youth. To protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction, the Lung Association in New Jersey encourages New Jersey to increase tobacco taxes. This step is critical to New Jersey as current tobacco use among youth is 8.2 percent.
"In New Jersey, an estimated 11,780 people die from smoking each year. We know how to reduce tobacco use in the Garden State and across this country. 'State of Tobacco Control' looks at proven methods to save lives and protect the health of all Americans," said Brown. "New Jersey elected officials must act to implement these 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 the American Lung Association in New Jersey Communications Director Ewa Dworakowski at [email protected] or 717-971-1123 or 717-503-3903 (cell).
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.