Arizona has a Mixed Record in Passing Policies to Reduce Tobacco Use, Save Lives, Finds New American Lung Association Report
2018 ‘State of Tobacco Control report encourages Arizona lawmakers to pass Tobacco 21 law
(January 24, 2018) -
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The American Lung Association’s 2018 “State of Tobacco Control” report shows that Arizona earned mixed marks for its tobacco policies. The 16th annual report, which grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, finds that while Arizona has adopted comprehensive smokefree laws, elected officials must do more to save lives, including raise the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21 and increase the state’s tobacco taxes.
“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 Julie Reid, executive director of the American Lung Association in Arizona. “Tobacco use is a serious addiction, and the fact that nearly 15 percent of adults in Arizona are current smokers highlights how much work remains to be done in our communities to prevent and reduce tobacco use.”
Arizona’s mixed grades in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” show that progress can be made, although more still must be done by Gov. Doug Ducey and the state legislature to decrease tobacco usage rates 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 C
• Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade F
The American Lung Association in Arizona calls on state policy makers to act on the following priority areas in 2018 to meet state goals:
• Funding for Arizona’s tobacco control program, Tobacco Free Arizona, dropped from $18.4 million in fiscal year 2017 to $17.8 million in 2018. Even at current funding levels, the state remains short of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended level. Increasing the funding for tobacco control programs will give Arizona a powerful opportunity to bring these programs to communities that still use tobacco at higher rates and who have been targeted by the tobacco industry.
• 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 encourages Arizona to increase tobacco taxes. This step is critical in Arizona as 10 percent of high school students in the state smoke and 35 percent use tobacco.
• 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 Arizona, 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 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,” Reid said. “Arizona elected officials must act to implement these proven policies, which will prevent tobacco-caused death and disease, and help keep our lungs healthy.”
About the American Lung Association in Arizona
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 the newly redesigned website: Lung.org.