New Report Reveals Maryland Must Focus on Maintaining Tobacco Control Funding and Closing Loopholes in Clean Air Act to Save Lives from Tobacco UseAmerican Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases Maryland grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco
ANNAPOLIS, MD | January 24, 2024
Today, the American Lung Association released the 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that Maryland received mixed grades for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year’s report noted the need for Maryland policymakers to focus on defending and preserving the critical funding increase for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and closing loopholes in the Clean Indoor Act, including for electronic cigarettes. 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.
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in Maryland and across the country and takes the lives of 7,490 residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Maryland lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Aleks Casper, Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Maryland. “This year, we are working with state policymakers to focus on preserving the much-needed funding increase in 2023 for tobacco prevention and cessation programs; and closing the loopholes in the Clean Indoor Act, including for e-cigarettes.”
Priority Calls to Action:
Preserve funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs. Despite receiving $632,100,000 from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, Maryland only funds tobacco control efforts at 53.5% (which includes the $8 million increase in 2023) of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The adult smoking rate in the state is 9% and the high school tobacco use rate is 15.6%. The Lung Association urges lawmakers to defend and maintain the 2023 increase in funding for this critical program.
Maintain comprehensive smokefree law by closing the loopholes in Clean Indoor Act. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Maintaining a comprehensive smokefree law that continues to prohibit smoking inclusive of electronic smoking devices in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, to protect workers across the state from deadly first and secondhand smoke.”
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 2024 report, Maryland received the following grades:
- Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
- Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B
- Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade C
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade A
- Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F
Federal Grades Overview
This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
The 2024 “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*
*State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.
The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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