New Report Reveals California Must Focus on Increasing State Funding for Tobacco Control Programs to Save Lives

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report features California grades for tobacco control policies

Today, the American Lung Association released the 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that California received 2 C grades, 1 B grade and 2 A grades for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year’s report noted the need for California lawmakers to focus on tobacco prevention and control programs. 

Despite receiving $2,577,900,000 from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, California only funds tobacco control efforts at 60.8% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association urges Governor Newsom and the Legislature to increase funding for this critical program to reduce the burden of tobacco use. 

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in California and across the country and takes the lives of 39,950 California residents each year,” said Kesa Bruce, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in California. “The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of California lives, so we must push forward with our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use.” 

The State of Tobacco Control 2024 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. 

California 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, California received the following grades:  

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

  1. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A 

  1. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade C 

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

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

*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

For more information, contact:

Katie Geraghty
310-359-6386
[email protected]

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