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

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 New Hampshire earned all failing or nearly failing grades on its effort 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. 

Unfortunately, despite the nationwide progress in reducing tobacco use, New Hampshire remains an outlier, with significant loopholes in its clear indoor air act, limited state cessation coverage, minimal tobacco taxes, no restrictions on flavored tobacco and minimal funding to tobacco control programs. This year’s report reflects these failures and may offer some insight into why the adult smoking rate is still 13.9%, and the high school tobacco use rate is 30.3%. 

“In New Hampshire, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 1,940 New Hampshire lives each year,” said Lance Boucher, assistant vice president for state public policy for the American Lung Association in New Hampshire. “Despite these frightening statistics, New Hampshire continues to have to defend what little progress it’s made each year as Big Tobacco tries to roll back common-sense laws on cigar bars and smoke free air.  Simply, we must do more to end lifelong nicotine addictions here in New Hampshire, which cost our community in both money and lives.”

New Hampshire’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. New Hampshire received the following grades: 

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

This year’s report noted the need for New Hampshire policymakers to defend against rollbacks and close loop holes in smokefree laws. 

“The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Boucher. “Protecting and strengthening our smokefree law – which should eliminate smoking in public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos - would protect workers across the state from deadly secondhand smoke. E-cigarettes should also be included in comprehensive smokefree laws.”

In addition, the report recommended the need for legislators to focus on increasing funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs and an increase in the state tobacco tax. 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. New Hampshire has not significantly increased its tobacco tax since 2009.  An investment in prevention is especially important given the ongoing youth vaping epidemic. 

“Despite receiving $285 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, New Hampshire only funds tobacco control efforts at 10% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association believes that,more of these funds, coupled with a state tobacco tax increase, 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 Boucher.

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, New Hampshire 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 Boucher.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 516.680.8927
 

For more information, contact:

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

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