New Report: Youth Vaping, Flavored Tobacco Products Threaten Progress on Policies to Reduce Tobacco Use in Nebraska

New report reveals Nebraska tobacco control successes over past 20 years, and outlines path to end tobacco use and save lives

The American Lung Association’s 20th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today, finds that Nebraska had mixed progress on passing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. 

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policymakers on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use, the nation’s leading cause of preventable death. The report also recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives.

Here in Nebraska in the last 20 years, lawmakers have made significant strides to reduce tobacco use, like the adult smoking rate has steadily declined to 13.9%, however, there is more work to be done. The tobacco industry continues to target youth with flavored tobacco products. In Nebraska, the high school tobacco use rate is still 18.8%. 

“While we have seen considerable progress in Nebraska, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 2,510 lives each year,” said Erin Smith, health promotions specialist at the Lung Association. “And our progress on tobacco control policy has not been equal. We continue to see the unequal burden of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in communities experiencing health disparities.”

Nebraska’s Grades 
“State of Tobacco Control” 2022 grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. Nebraska received the following grades: 

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  2. Strength of Smokefree Air Laws – Grade A
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade D
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

This year’s report noted the need for Nebraska policymakers to focus on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. 

“Kids follow the flavors, so ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Nebraska is key to ending youth tobacco use. We call on legislators in Lincoln to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, across Nebraska,” said Smith.

Federal Grades Overview
Nationally, the report reveals significant progress in the work to end tobacco use, but products like e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, create concern for losing another generation to nicotine addiction.

“State of Tobacco Control” 2022 also grades the federal government in five areas: 

  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products (2022 grade – D)
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments (2022 grade – D)
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes (2022 grade – F)
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use (2022 grade – A)
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 (2022 grade – I*)

*The Incomplete grade is for the FDA being more than 18 months overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute.

“In 2022, Nebraska needs to redouble its efforts to pass the proven policies called for in ‘State of Tobacco Control’ to help end tobacco use. We cannot afford to wait 20 more years and allow another generation to suffer from tobacco-caused addiction, disease and death,” said Smith.

For more information, contact:

Dana Kauffman
312-940-7624
[email protected]

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