Utah Earns Mixed Grades for Tobacco Control Policies; Experts Recommend Focus on Increasing Tobacco Taxes

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

A new report from the American Lung Association urges Utah lawmakers to focus on increasing tobacco taxes as part of the effort to reduce the burden of tobacco use. 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. Utah received one A grade, one B, one C, and two Fs on the state’s policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Utah and across the country and takes the lives of 1,340 Utahns each year. We know that the tobacco industry will do everything they can to grow their profits and addict more people to their deadly products. So, we must redouble our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Nick Torres, advocacy director at the American Lung Association in Utah. “This year, we are highlighting the need for Utah lawmakers to remain vigilant on tobacco control policies. While Utah remains a leader when it comes to adequately funding prevention programs, the state’s ranking on tobacco taxes has fallen significantly since tobacco taxes were last increased in 2010. Raising taxes on tobacco products remains one of the most effective ways to reduce and prevent tobacco use, particularly among youth.

Utah 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, Utah received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade A*
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade C
  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:

Utah Media Contact

[email protected]

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