20th Annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ Report Reveals Arizona Still Lags Behind on Policies to Reduce Tobacco Use

The American Lung Association’s 20th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today, 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. The report finds that Arizona earned failing grades 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 recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. The 2022 “State of Tobacco Control” report reveals that the country has made substantial progress in advancing tobacco control policies over the past 20 years, including comprehensive smokefree laws in more states, increased tobacco taxes across the nation and more Americans with access to treatments to help them quit smoking through state Medicaid programs. 

Here in Arizona in the last 20 years, lawmakers have made significant strides to reduce tobacco use, like protecting smokefree indoor air spaces, however, there is much more work to be done. The smoking rate is still 13.1%, and the high school tobacco use rate is 20.7%. 

“While we have seen considerable progress in Arizona, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 8,250 lives each year,” said JoAnna Strother, Senior Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Arizona. “Disturbingly, we also continue to see the unequal burden of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in communities experiencing health disparities.”

Arizona’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. Arizona 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 F
4.    Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade C

This year’s report noted the need for Arizona policymakers to focus on maintaining local governments right to pass stronger tobacco laws than the state law. Preemption laws are a favorite tactic of the tobacco industry and its allies as it denies local governments the ability to pass meaningful public policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, including addressing the youth vaping epidemic.

"Arizona is a large and diverse state, where the needs of different cities and counties vary widely. Because of this, we must allow local governments the ability to develop the best laws to protect their citizens,” said Strother. “We believe that local governments should be allowed to respond to public health issues, like youth tobacco use and the youth e-cigarette epidemic, in ways that work for their communities.”
 
Federal Grades Overview

“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, Arizona 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 Strother.
 

For more information, contact:

Arizona Media Contact

[email protected]

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