Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in New Mexico. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by New Mexico's elected officials:
1. Maintain or increase funding for the state's tobacco prevention and control program;
2. Increase excise taxes on tobacco products by $1.00 per pack or more; and
3. Remove statewide preemption for tobacco product sales laws.

The American Lung Association in New Mexico provides leadership in convening partners and guiding public policy efforts to continue the state's success in reducing the impact of tobacco among New Mexicans. Together with our partners, the Lung Association works to ensure tobacco control and prevention remains a priority for state legislators and local decision makers.

In 2020, the Lung Association's focus was to continue to educate legislators, legislative staff, and the general public about smoking and the importance of providing tobacco cessation programs for adults and youth, and the dangers of secondhand smoke. During the legislative session the Lung Association along with our partners successfully passed a bill creating a statewide tobacco retail license, removing penalties for youth who purchase, use, or possess tobacco products, and increasing the state age of sale for tobacco products to 21 to align with federal law. However, lawmakers missed an opportunity to remove decades old statewide preemption, prohibiting local communities to pass ordinances to reduce tobacco sales to youth.

Funding for the state tobacco control program from tobacco Master Settlement Agreement dollars remained similar to previous years at $5.5 million. It is positive news that this funding is being sustained from year to year, but it still falls far short of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Moving forward in 2021, the American Lung Association in New Mexico will once again make it a priority to educate our legislature and communities about the dangers of tobacco use and the importance of a well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation program. Additionally, the Lung Association will be working to raise the excise tax on tobacco products and remove statewide preemption so that local cities and towns can pass local ordinances to reduce tobacco sales to youth that are best suited for their community.
  • New Mexico Facts
  • Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $843,869,235

  • Adult Smoking Rate: 16.0%

  • High School Smoking Rate: 8.9%

  • High School Tobacco Use Rate: 37.5%

  • Middle School Smoking Rate: 4.3%

  • Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 2,630

Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use data come from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rate is taken from the 2017 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey.

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