Montana earns three F grades in American Lung Association’s 20th Annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ Report

New report reveals Montana 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, 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 Montana earned mixed 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” 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. 

Montana lawmakers have made some progress to reduce tobacco use, like protecting Montanans from secondhand smoke with our Clean Indoor Air law, a vital protection for our public health. However, there is more lawmakers can do. The smoking rate is still 16.4%, and the high school tobacco use rate is 33.5%. 

“While we have seen progress in Montana, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated1,570 lives each year,” said Carrie Nyssen, Senior Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Montana. “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.”

Montana’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. Montana 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 B
5.    Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products   - Grade F 

This year’s report noted the need for Montana policymakers to focus on maintaining strong public health protections for clean indoor air, increasing investments in tobacco prevention and quit programs, and repealing laws preventing local governments from passing stronger tobacco control laws.

“Youth use of electronic cigarettes is an epidemic. Nearly half of all Montana high school students have tried electronic cigarettes, and over one-quarter of students currently use electronic cigarettes,” continued Nyssen. “We can do better.”

“Despite receiving over $105 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, Montana only funds tobacco control efforts at 46% 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,” said Nyssen. 

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, Montana 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 Nyssen.
 

For more information, contact:

Montana Media Contact

[email protected]

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