New Report Reveals Vermont Must Focus on Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco to Save Lives

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

A new report from the American Lung Association urges Vermont lawmakers to focus on funding tobacco prevention programs as well as ending the sale of flavored tobacco products to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state. The 2024 “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. Vermont received a less that perfect report card, with two F grades, one B grade and two A grades for policies to improve statewide efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. 

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of death in Vermont and across the country, and takes the lives of 960 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Vermont lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Trevor Summerfield, director of advocacy at the American Lung Association in Vermont. “This year, we are working with state policymakers to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. We know that kids are attracted to flavored e-cigarettes, and that menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with over 80% of Black individuals who smoke using them. Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, will not only help end youth vaping, but will address health disparities.”

Vermont’s 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, Vermont 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 A
  • Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

Summerfield concluded, Despite receiving over $104M from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, Vermont only funds tobacco control efforts at 45% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association urges Governor Scott and the legislature to increase funding for this critical program.” 

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.
 

For more information, contact:

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

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