SACRAMENTO, CA | January 25, 2023
The “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. This is critical, as tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America and takes the lives of almost 40,000 California residents each year.
“Last year, we were pleased to see the residents of California vote to end the sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol, which will help address both health disparities and the youth e-cigarette epidemic in the state. As a result, California’s ‘State of Tobacco Control’ grade for policies to end the sale of flavored tobacco products improved to a ‘B’ grade this year,” said Michael Seilback, national assistant vice president of state public policy at the American Lung Association. “This is important progress, however, there are still too many California residents who are impacted by tobacco use, like the 8.9% of adults who smoke and the 12.7% of high school students who use tobacco.”
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 2023 report, California received the following grades:
1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – D
2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – A
3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – B
4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – B
5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – B
This year’s report noted the need for California policymakers to focus on continuing to pass restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products on the local level and enacting stronger tobacco control laws throughout the state.
“Despite the significant progress in California, the tobacco industry continues to try to find loopholes to sell their addictive products in kid-friendly flavors,” said Seilback. “This year, we are looking to local communities and the state to push forward innovative policies to eliminate tobacco use in California once and for all.”
Federal Grades Overview
The report also grades the federal government on their efforts to eliminate tobacco use. This year, there were new steps taken by the government to prevent and reduce tobacco use, including proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, Congress passing a law requiring the FDA to regulate tobacco products made with synthetic nicotine, and increased federal enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act. As a result of these steps forward, the federal government’s grade for “Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products” improved from a “D” grade last year, to a “C” grade in the 2023 report.
The 2023 “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 is overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.”
To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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