New Report: Wisconsin Earns Mostly Failing Grades for Tobacco Control Policies; Experts Recommend Keeping Smokefree Indoor Air Law Intact

American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin received two F grades, two D grades and one B grade for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year’s report noted the need for Wisconsin policymakers to focus on maintaining the state’s clean indoor air law.

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 Wisconsin and across the country and takes the lives of 7,850 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Wisconsin lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Molly Collins, advocacy director at the American Lung Association in Wisconsin.

“This year, we are working to stop a state bill that proposes to create new ‘tobacco bars’ which would be exempted from the Wisconsin smokefree air law. Wisconsin has been a leader in protecting all of its citizens from the known, indisputable hazards of secondhand smoke in the workplace and public places. Our law protecting both workers and patrons at all indoor public places has been in place since 2009, and it’s working. Allowing more tobacco bars creates a significant loophole in clean indoor air protections and weakens decades of progress in preventing exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing tobacco use. We should not go backwards.”

Wisconsin’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, Wisconsin received the following grades:

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

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.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee is coming up on March 9, 2024. Learn more at FightForAirClimb.org/Milwaukee.

*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.

Media Resources:

For more information, contact:

Janye Killelea
312-940-7624
[email protected]

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