American Lung Association Report: Massachusetts Earns Failing Grade for Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases Massachusetts grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco

The American Lung Association’s 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today, reveals that Massachusetts earned a failing grade for tobacco prevention and control program funding, and found that more work needs to be done to prevent tobacco use and save lives. The 22nd annual 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 preventable death in Massachusetts and across the country, and takes the lives of 9,300 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Massachusetts lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Daniel Fitzgerald at the American Lung Association in Massachusetts. “This year, we are working with state partners and policymakers to focus on increasing the tax on tobacco products and increasing funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs.”

One of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, not only among low-income individuals but also for youth, is to significantly increase the tax on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Multiple studies have shown that every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4% among adults and about 7% among youth. The Lung Association recommends that Massachusetts increase its tax by $1.00 per pack per pack and tax non-cigarette tobacco products at a comparable rate.

In addition to raising the tobacco tax, the Lung Association is focused on increasing comprehensive tobacco control program funding. Despite receiving over $692M from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, Massachusetts only funds tobacco control efforts at 12.3% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association urges Governor Healy and the legislature to increase funding for this critical program.

Massachusetts 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 2024 report, Massachusetts 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 B
  • Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade B
  • Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade A

 
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*

*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.”  

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.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Fight For Air Climb in Boston is coming up on March 9, 2024 at One Boston Place. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/Boston
 

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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