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

New report reveals 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 Wyoming earned average to 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” 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. 

Wyoming has made some progress to reduce tobacco use. Legislators increased funding for tobacco prevention and control program funding, earning a C grade in that category in this year’s report. There is still more work to do. The adult smoking rate is still 18.5%, and the high school tobacco use rate is 38.4%. 

“While we have seen some progress in Wyoming, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 800 lives each year,” said Carrie Nyssen, Senior Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Wyoming. “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.”

Wyoming’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. Wyoming received the following grades: 

1.    Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade C
2.    Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade F
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 

Policy makers in Wyoming have the opportunity to provide quality and affordable healthcare, including tobacco cessation treatment, to over 7,000 uninsured Wyoming residents by expanding Medicaid. Individuals with Medicaid coverage are more likely than uninsured individuals to have at least one physician visit annually – and this check-up gives patients an opportunity to ask about their risk factors for lung disease and other health conditions. This holds true for tobacco cessation – states that expanded Medicaid saw over a 20% increase in the use of cessation medications in the Medicaid population.  

Wyoming receives over $39 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes and funds tobacco control efforts at 66.4% 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,” 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, Wyoming 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.

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