American Lung Association Report Gives Maryland Mixed Grades for Tobacco Control Policies

American Lung Association report reveals best and worst states for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco in Maryland
According to the American Lung Association’s 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today, Maryland earned mixed grades on this year’s report. The state did get a thumb’s up for significantly increasing state tobacco control program funding by $8.25 million for the 2023 fiscal year—a much needed increase that should be preserved and maintained to help save Maryland lives.  

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 7,490 Maryland residents each year.

Maryland has mixed results when it comes to tobacco control policies, and as a result, we have adult smoking rates at 10.1% and a higher than national average for high school students' tobacco product use at 27.4%,” said Aleks Casper, Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Maryland. “This gives us an important opportunity to improve the health of our state through proven policies, such as preserving the much-needed funding increase for tobacco prevention and cessation of $8.25 million and removing all flavored tobacco products from the market.”

Maryland’s 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 2023 report, Maryland received the following grades: 
1.    Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
2.    Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
3.    Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade C
4.    Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade B
5.    Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F 

This year’s report noted the need for Maryland policymakers to focus on: 


Defending and Preserving funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs. An investment in prevention is especially important given the ongoing youth vaping epidemic. Despite receiving $632.1 million revenue from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes and receiving an $8.25 million funding increase for tobacco prevention and cessation programs for the 2023 fiscal year, Maryland still only funds tobacco control efforts at 27.4% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association believes the funds should be used to support the health of our communities, and to prevent tobacco use and help people quit, and not switch to e-cigarettes. These programs are also critical for helping to end tobacco-related health disparities. 

Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 2.5 million high school and middle school students use e-cigarettes, and more 85% of those kids use flavored e-cigarettes. In addition, menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with over 80% of Black Americans who smoke using them. Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol, will not only help end youth vaping, but will also help address the disproportionate impact of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have on many communities, including Black Americans, LGBTQ+ Americans and youth.  

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.
For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
717-971-1123
[email protected]

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