Did your state make the grade?
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Alabama. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Alabama's elected officials:
- Implement a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing program to ensure enforcement and compliance with tobacco control statutes;
- Pass a comprehensive statewide smokefree law that protects all workers and patrons from secondhand smoke; and
- Increase funding for the Alabama tobacco prevention and control program.
In 2021, Representative Drummond introduced House Bill 273 to reduce kids' access to e-cigarettes and protect them from a lifelong addiction to tobacco and nicotine. House Bill 273 aligned Alabama's statute with federal law increasing the sales age of tobacco products to 21 years of age while also adding some additional provisions to tobacco control statutes. Unfortunately, House Bill 273 did not adequately update state tobacco control laws to restrict youth access to tobacco, including e-cigarettes and expressly exempts non-nicotine products from being regulated by adjusting the definition of electronic nicotine dispensing devices. The Lung Association and other public health partners advocated for updating provisions for licensing, enforcement and compliance of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and removing youth penalties as polices that would have effectively reduced youth tobacco and nicotine use.
Many local municipalities were inundated with needs to respond to their community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and were unable to focus on other issues, such as implementing strong smokefree ordinances. Tobacco control partners continue to be engaged with community education on the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke across Alabama. The Lung Association plays a prominent role by offering technical assistance on the best practices of tobacco prevention and control. The Alabama Department of Public Health continues to affect social norm change around tobacco use, address the marketing of tobacco products to youth, and promote policies that eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke through the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
In 2022, the American Lung Association in Alabama will advocate for the implementation of a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing program to ensure enforcement and compliance with tobacco control statutes while continuing to educate state legislators on best practices for tobacco control, including the benefits of a statewide smokefree law. In order to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use in Alabama, state legislators will need to recognize the health and economic burden of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure by enacting public health protections and investing in evidence-based tobacco prevention programs. The Lung Association will continue to work with partners in the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Alabama to ensure successful passage and preservation of comprehensive local smokefree ordinances.
|Economic Cost Due to Smoking:||$1,885,747,576|
|Adult Smoking Rate:||18.5%|
|High School Smoking Rate:||7.1%|
|High School Tobacco Use Rate:||26.7%|
|Middle School Smoking Rate:||3.4%|
|Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year:||8,650|
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use rates are taken from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2016 Youth Tobacco Survey.
Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.