Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Utah. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in Utah calls for the following actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Maintain or increase funding for state's tobacco prevention and control program;
- Increase the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21; and
- Raise Utah's tobacco tax to encourage an even further reduction in tobacco use.
House bill 324 was approved by the legislature and signed into law during the 2018 legislative session, which added e-cigarettes and hookah to the definition of smoking in Utah's Clean Indoor Air Act and made a number of changes to state and municipal licensing requirements for retailers of tobacco products.
Funding for the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at the state Department of Health was again maintained at about the same level as previous years in fiscal year 2019. The program is funded by a combination of tobacco Master Settlement Agreement dollars and tobacco tax revenue.
In November 2018, Utah voters approved an initiative supported by the Lung Association expanding the Medicaid program in the state. Once implemented, this will potentially give a lower income population that smokes at higher rates than the general population access to at least some tobacco cessation treatments and services at low or no cost.
In 2019, the American Lung Association in Utah will continue pushing to increase the sales age for tobacco products to 21, and to maintain or increase funding for the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
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