Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Arizona. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Arizona's elected officials:
- Raise the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21;
- Increase Arizona's tobacco taxes; and
- Maintain or increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
In 2018, funding for Arizona's tobacco control program, Tobacco Free Arizona, went from $17.8 million in fiscal year 2018 to $17.8 million in fiscal year 2019. The program is funded by a percentage of revenue from tobacco taxes, and funding has remained relatively consistent over the years. However, the American Lung Association in Arizona keeps a close eye on funding levels to ensure these vital tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs receive the funding dedicated to them. Even at current funding levels, the state remains well short of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended levels.
During the 2018 legislative session, the Lung Association in Arizona worked on state legislation raising the sales age of tobacco products to 21. The bill passed the House Health Committee 8-1 but failed to be heard in its other assigned committees.
The Arizona Smoke-Free Living Coalition, of which the American Lung Association is a partner, continued efforts toward supporting smokefree policies in apartment communities throughout Arizona. Outreach efforts to educate and support multi-family housing property managers and owners to adopt and implement a smoke-free policy yielded positive results. In 2018, a total of 480 apartment communities across Arizona had fully implemented written smokefree policies, of which 352 do not permit the use of electronic smoking devices. An additional 112 apartment communities are in the process of transitioning to smokefree.
Furthermore, Arizona Smoke-Free Living Coalition was instrumental in an effort, effective in 2018, requiring all Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program awardees to implement a smokefree policy level that prohibits electronic smoking devices. The Coalition aims to continue to provide education and support to increase the number of smokefree apartment communities statewide in the coming year.
During the 2019 legislative session, the American Lung Association in Arizona will again work diligently to educate our lawmakers on the enormous negative economic impacts that tobacco use has on Arizona. Raising the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21 will also be a priority
Sign up for the latest lung health news sent right to your inbox.
Join more than 500,000 people who receive research updates, inspiring stories, health information and more.