State of Tobacco Control Report: Illinois Grades Improve, State Still Receives Two Failing Grades for Policies to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use

American Lung Association report reveals best and worst states for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco in Illinois

Illinois received two failing grades, one “A,” one “B” and one “C” on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, according to the American Lung Association’s 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today. The state earned mixed grades on this year’s report.

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 more than 18,000 Illinois residents each year.

“Last year, we were pleased to see the state legislature pass increased funding for the state quitline, which resulted in an increase of $500,000 to help people quit smoking in Illinois. As a result, Illinois’ ‘State of Tobacco Control’ Access to Cessation Services grade improved from ‘C’ last year to ‘B’ this year,” said Kristina Hamilton, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Illinois. “This is important progress, however, there are still too many residents who are impacted by tobacco use, like the 12% of adults who smoke and the 22.7% of high school students who use tobacco.”

Illinois 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, Illinois received the following grades:

  • Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  • Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
  • Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade C
  • Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade B
  • Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

This year’s report noted the need for Illinois policymakers to focus on including e-cigarettes in the Smokefree Illinois Act to prevent their usage in public places and workplaces.

The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Passing a comprehensive smokefree law that eliminates smoking in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, would protect workers across the state from deadly secondhand smoke. E-cigarettes must also be included in comprehensive smokefree laws, given the harmful emissions that come from them.

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.

Media Resources:

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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