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American Lung Association’s ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ Report Finds NH Failing in Efforts to Save Lives by Reducing Tobacco Use

(February 3, 2016) -

Today, the American Lung Association released its 14th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report that found in 2015 New Hampshire failed to enact tobacco control policies that will save lives.  The report also finds New Hampshire is not alone, as most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States’ overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease.

“New Hampshire is missing a clear opportunity to save lives by not taking action to prevent and reduce tobacco use. We must also face the reality that youth use of other tobacco products nationwide like e-cigarettes and little cigars is at an all-time high,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.  “Nearly a quarter of high school students are using tobacco products, and it is crucial that New Hampshire take aggressive action to reduce all tobacco use – the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in our nation.”

Beyond efforts to curb tobacco use rates, the report also looked at secondhand smoke protections in workplaces. While 28 states plus the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive smokefree workplace laws, no state passed a comprehensive law in 2015, and only one state has passed a comprehensive smokefree law in the past five years. New Hampshire is one of the 22 states that has yet to fully protect its citizens from secondhand smoke.

“It’s long past time for New Hampshire to act and pass a comprehensive smokefree workplace law,” said Seyler. “No one should have to face the harmful effects of secondhand smoke to earn a paycheck.”

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates tobacco control policies at the state and federal level, and assigns grades based on whether laws protect citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives.

“State of Tobacco Control 2016” finds New Hampshire’s failing grades show that urgent action is needed by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:
• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – Grade F
• Tobacco Taxes - Grade D
• Smokefree Air - Grade D
• Access to Cessation Services - Grade F

The American Lung Association of the Northeast calls on New Hampshire to increase state funding for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, including funding the New Hamp¬shire Tobacco Quitline, to $1 million dollars; improve the indoor smoking act by prohibiting smok¬ing in all public places and workplaces; and introduce legislation restricting the sale of tobacco products at health care institutions.

As of January 31, 2016, the Obama Administration had not yet given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight authority over all tobacco products including cigars, e-cigarettes, little cigars and hookah (commonly referred to as the deeming rule). The grade of “I” for Incomplete for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products is assigned because the final rule is expected at any time. Other federal grades include a “C” for Federal Cessation Coverage, an “F” for Tobacco Taxes and a “B” for its Mass Media Campaigns, a new grading area in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.
“It’s not a secret how we can reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Lance Boucher, Director of Public Policy at the American Lung Association in New Hampshire.  “We must demand that our elected officials in New Hampshire urgently act to implement these proven policies to save lives. The American Lung Association in New Hampshire will continue to work closely with our partners to increase funding for the tobacco control program and increase the state tax on cigarettes.”

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 at [email protected].

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