New Report Reveals Opportunity to Address Tobacco Taxes to Save Lives from Tobacco Use

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases Alaska grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco.

A new report from the American Lung Association urges Alaska lawmakers to focus on increasing tobacco taxes to reduce the burden of tobacco use. The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. Alaska received two B grades, one C, one D and one F grade for policies to improve statewide efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use.  

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in Alaska and across the country and takes the lives of over 600 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Alaska lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Carrie Nyssen, Senior Director of Advocacy, at the American Lung Association in Alaska.  

“This year, we are working with state policymakers to focus on taxing electronic cigarettes and other devices to reduce youth use of these products. One of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, not only among low-income individuals but also for youth, is to significantly increase the tax on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Multiple studies have shown that every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4% among adults and about 7% among youth.” 

Alaska Grades  

The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, Alaska received the following grades:  

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade B* 

  1. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B 

  1. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade D 

  1. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade C 

  1. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F  

*State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates. 

Federal Grades Overview 

This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.  

The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:  

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C  

  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D 

  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F 

  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade: A 

  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete* 

*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.”   

The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc

Get involved and help further the mission of the American Lung Association in Alaska. The Clean Air Challenge is coming on May 11, 2024, please visit CleanAirChallengeAK.org for more info and to register. 

For more information, contact:

Katie Geraghty
310-359-6386
[email protected]

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