Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in New Mexico. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in New Mexico calls for the following actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Raise the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products including snuff, chewing tobacco and cigars/cigarillos;
- Maintain or increase funding for state's tobacco prevention and control program; and
- Protect New Mexicans from secondhand smoke exposure, including in multi-unit housing.
The American Lung Association in New Mexico provides leadership in convening partners and guiding public policy efforts to continue the state's success in reducing the impact of tobacco among New Mexicans. Together with our partners, the American Lung Association in New Mexico works to ensure tobacco control and prevention remains a priority for state legislators and local decision makers.
In 2017, our focus was to continue to educate legislators, legislative staff, and the general public about smoking and the importance of providing tobacco cessation programs for adults and youth, and the dangers of secondhand smoke. During the legislative session, the Lung Association along with our partners were unsuccessful in passing legislation to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack and impose an equivalent tax on other tobacco products including cigars, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. The legislation would have generated an estimated $31.66 million in new revenue for the state of New Mexico while dramatically reducing adult and youth tobacco use rates.
The American Lung Association in New Mexico's Smoke-Free at Home NM program provides education and support to property managers and owners on the economic and health benefits of implementing smokefree policies in multi-unit housing. In 2017, the Lung Association continued to help public, affordable, and market rate housing implement smokefree policies building on our efforts from previous years. Smoke-Free at Home NM certified seven properties as smokefree representing 554 units and approximately 1,354 residents, while an additional 15 properties implemented our Thinking About Quitting workshops helping smokers who were interested in quitting.
Moving forward in 2018, the American Lung Association in New Mexico will once again make it a priority to educate our legislature and communities about the dangers of tobacco use and the importance of a well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation program. Additionally, we will be working on raising the excise tax on tobacco products. The American Lung Association in New Mexico will also continue to focus on creating smokefree multi-unit housing. It is our goal to provide all New Mexicans with a safe and healthy living environment, free from the dangers of secondhand smoke.