Did your state make the grade?

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Delaware. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Delaware's elected officials:

  1. Protect Delaware's tobacco tax structure and defend any attempted rollbacks on specific products;
  2. Fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended level; and
  3. Address youth tobacco use by removing all flavored tobacco products from the market.

The 2021 legislative session was the first year of the 151st General Assembly of Delaware's two-year session. In 2021, the American Lung Association in Delaware along with other public health partners were successful in protecting critical funding for tobacco prevention and cessation.

The 2021 Delaware legislative session was focused primarily on COVID-19 issues and conducted virtually for most of the session. During the 2021 session a bill was introduced in the Senate which would decrease the tax rate on "premium" cigars from 30% to 15% of the wholesale price. This reduction would undermine Delaware's comprehensive tax strategy that was passed in 2017 which tried to create some parity among tobacco products. The bill unfortunately was passed out of the Senate and will be carried over into the 2022 legislative session. The Lung Association and its partners will continue to focus on protecting Delaware's tobacco tax structure and opposing any attempts to undermine it.

Another important tool in fighting tobacco use in Delaware is much needed funding for tobacco prevention and cessation. The Delaware Health Fund is where tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) dollars received by the state have been directed since within the first few years after the MSA was negotiated. Delaware has been one of the few states to largely keep promises made at the time and use the money for health-related purposes. Total tobacco prevention and cessation funding, which comes from this fund, reflected a slight increase due to advocacy from the Lung Association at approximately $7.1 million in fiscal year 2022. However, this amount of funding is still lower than historical levels and below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended level. The Lung Association believes funding for this vital program needs to be significantly increased especially considering the increased youth use of electronic cigarettes.

Finally, during 2021 the Lung Association and its partners were able to begin to lay the groundwork for potentially future legislation that would focus on removing all flavored products from the market in Delaware.

The American Lung Association in Delaware will continue to educate lawmakers and identify champions in the ongoing fight against tobacco. Our goal is to build champions within the legislature and at the grassroots level to advance our goals which include protecting the current tobacco tax structure in place by opposing any attempts to roll back taxes on specific products and much needed increased funding for tobacco prevention and control programs.
Delaware Facts
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $532,321,239
Adult Smoking Rate: 15.1%
High School Smoking Rate: 6.2%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 19.4%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 1.5%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 1,440

Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use rates are taken from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rate is taken from the 2015 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.

Delaware Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

State Grades Report Laws & Policies