Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Alabama. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Alabama's elected officials:
- Pass a comprehensive statewide smokefree law that protects all workers and patrons from secondhand smoke;
- Increase funding for the Alabama tobacco prevention and control program; and
- Increase the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Local municipalities continue to take the lead on public health issues by implementing strong smokefree ordinances. The cities of Luverne and Sheffield were public health leaders in passing smokefree air ordinances in 2018 to protect their workers and residents from exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco control partners are very engaged with community education on the dangers of secondhand smoke across Alabama. The Lung Association plays a prominent role by offering technical assistance on securing smokefree protections for all workers and residents in local municipalities across the state.
The Alabama Department of Public Health continues to affect social norm change around tobacco use, address the marketing of tobacco products to youth, and promote policies that eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke through the presence of Tobacco Prevention Coordinators in strategic public health areas across Alabama and the funded non-profit organizations of the Youth Tobacco Prevention Program.
In 2019, the American Lung Association in Alabama will educate state legislators about the benefits of a statewide smokefree law and the need for increased funding for the tobacco control program. In order to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use in Alabama, state legislators will need to recognize the health and economic burden of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure by enacting public health protections and investing in evidence-based tobacco prevention programs. The Lung Association will continue to work with partners in the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Alabama to ensure successful passage and preservation of comprehensive local smokefree ordinances