Utah Earns Mostly Passing Grades for Tobacco Control Policies in American Lung Association Report

American Lung Association report reveals best and worst states for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco in Utah
Utah is listed among the states with the best policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, according to the American Lung Association’s 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today. The state earned mostly passing grades on this year’s report.

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. This is critical, as tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America and takes the lives of 1,340 Utahns each year.

“Utah’s grades held steady this year. One highlight was the additional state funding dedicated to tobacco control programs. The state continues to lead the country with the lowest adult smoking rate and one of the lowest rates of high school students using tobacco products,” said Nick Torres, Advocacy Director at the American Lung Association in Utah. “This gives us an opportunity to continue building on Utah’s success in tobacco control and go further to improve in areas where Utah lags behind other states, such as raising taxes on tobacco products.”

Utah’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 2023 report, Utah received the following grades:
  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade A
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade B
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

This year’s report noted the need for Utah policymakers to focus on increasing tobacco taxes. 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. Utah has not significantly increased its taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products since 2010 and should increase its tax by at least $1.00 per pack.
Federal Grades Overview
The report also grades the federal government on their efforts to eliminate tobacco use. This year, there were new steps taken by the government to prevent and reduce tobacco use, including proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, Congress passing a law requiring the FDA to regulate tobacco products made with synthetic nicotine, and increased federal enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act. As a result of these steps forward, the federal government’s grade for “Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products” improved from a “D” grade last year, to a “C” grade in the 2023 report.

The 2023 “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 is overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.” 

To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.
For more information, contact:

Utah Media Contact

[email protected]

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