Texas Earns Mostly Failing Grades for Tobacco Control Policies; Experts Recommend Focus on Funding Tobacco Prevention and Quit Smoking Programs

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

Today, the American Lung Association released the 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that Texas received 4 F grades and 1 D grade for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year’s report noted the need for Texas policymakers to focus on increasing funding for tobacco prevention and control programs, improving the surveillance of tobacco retailers, and increases taxes on all tobacco products.

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 Texas and across the country and takes the lives of 28,030 Texas residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Texas lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Charlie Gagen, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Texas. “Over the next two years, we are working with state policymakers to focus on a continued increase of funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs.”

Texas receives more than $1.7 billion from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes. While the state did provide a modest increase for quit smoking programs, which led to the state’s first “D” grade, Texas still only funds tobacco control efforts at 3.6% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association thanks lawmakers for funding an increase in 2023 and urges Governor Abbott and the Legislature to continue to increase funding for these life-saving programs.

Texas 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, Texas received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F*
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade F
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade D
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

*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.

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:

Texas Media Contact

[email protected]

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