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American Lung Association 'State of Tobacco Control' Report Finds Montana Must Do More to Prevent, Reduce Tobacco Use

Montana earns an "F" on tobacco prevention funding and tobacco taxes

(January 30, 2019) - HELENA, Mont.

For more information please contact:

Holly Harvey
[email protected]
(206) 512-3292

Tobacco use remains Montana's and the nation's leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 480,000 lives every year in the U.S. This year's "State of Tobacco Control" report from the American Lung Association finds that Montana earned failing grades on its efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The American Lung Association calls on Montana officials to increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in order to save lives.

The need for Montana to protect youth from tobacco is more urgent than ever, with youth e-cigarette use reaching epidemic levels due to a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This equals one million additional kids beginning to use e-cigarettes, placing their developing bodies at risk from the chemicals in e-cigarettes, as well as a lifetime of deadly addiction.

"Tobacco use is a serious addiction and we need to invest in the proven measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use," said Carrie Nyssen, Senior Director for Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Montana. "The ‘State of Tobacco Control' report highlights evidence-based policies to reduce tobacco use and  save lives."

The 17th annual "State of Tobacco Control" report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that Montana earns the following grades:

  • 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 B
  • Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade F

The American Lung Association encourages the Montana legislature to provide additional funding for  tobacco control efforts and increase tobacco taxes; both are evidence-based strategies to reduce tobacco use.. The Lung Association strongly supported Initiative 185 in the last election, which proposed raising tobacco taxes, and continues to call for more funding for tobacco cessation programs. The tobacco industry spent over $17 million last year to fight I-185, to the detriment of Montanan's health.

By increasing funding for tobacco control programs, Montana would have a powerful opportunity to further reduce and prevent tobacco use, including supporting communities that still use tobacco at higher rates and who have been targeted by the tobacco industry. Despite Montana receiving an estimated  $108 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, the state does not fund tobacco control efforts at levels recommended by the CDC.

Additionally, nearly seven out of 10 smokers want to quit, but quitting tobacco can be difficult. Evidence suggests that the number of people quitting smoking increased when coverage for tobacco treatments provides access to all seven FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications and all three forms of counseling without barriers, such as copays and prior authorization. Montana lawmakers have a powerful opportunity to help smokers quit and reduce disparities in tobacco use by covering all quit smoking treatments in its Medicaid program.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about the "State of Tobacco Control" report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact [email protected] or 206-512-3292.

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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 coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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