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

  1. Increase funding for tobacco prevention and control programs;
  2. Improve the state’s surveillance of tobacco retailers, ensuring each retailer is subject to at least one annual compliance check; and
  3. Increase taxes on all tobacco products, including implementing a tax on e-cigarettes at parity with cigarettes.
After more than a year of advocacy, the state of Texas increased its funding for the Department of State Health Services tobacco prevention and cessation programs by more than $2 million annually, the first increase in several legislative sessions. The increased funding resulted in two significant changes: an expansion of the Texas Tobacco Quitline with more free nicotine replacement therapy available as well as an increase in availability of phone coaching, and a relaunch of a youth-focused media campaign: “Vapes Down”. While this increase is to be celebrated, Texas tobacco control programs remain severely underfunded and the Lung Association calls on lawmakers to create a dedicated source of significant revenue to fund more robust programs to ensure all Texans across 254 counties receive tobacco prevention and cessation resources.

A concerning new law was passed, House Bill 114, which now mandates any student caught with an e-cigarette on a school campus be sent to a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP). While the DAEP program may provide educational and support services to students, the Lung Association opposes this expansion of penalties for youth and the removal from traditional classroom instruction. The focus should be on tobacco retailers who continue to sell non-FDA approved e-cigarettes to underage persons, with more resources for youth prevention and cessation.

The Legislature also passed House Bill 4758 which prohibits the sale of any e-cigarette product with containers that clearly market to underage persons. This criteria includes cartoons, trademark symbols, celebrity images and products that resemble candy or juice products. Unfortunately, no funds were included to ensure compliance with the law, which went into effect January 1, 2024.

Several promising bills were filed to expand indoor smokefree air protections that unfortunately did not become law. The Lung Association and partners were able to stop several tobacco-industry led bills which would carve out new, extremely low taxes on certain nicotine products, including e-cigarettes. Lastly, a new passed state law expands access to Medicaid services to women for 12 months following pregnancy, expanding access to tobacco cessation services.

Despite a budget surplus of $33 billion, Texas continues to significantly underfund programs that are proven to reduce tobacco use. Lawmakers must build on their momentum by significantly increasing funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs as well as funding for retailer compliance with existing laws. A potential source of funding would be increasing the cigarette tax, which has not been raised since 2006. Additionally, momentum on local smokefree indoor air ordinances has stalled, with some cities seeing a regression as the city of Waco voting to weaken their ordinance to allow new cigar lounges. The Lung Association calls on lawmakers to revisit efforts to pass a comprehensive statewide indoor smoking law.

Texas Facts
Healthcare Costs Due to Smoking: $8,855,602,443
Adult Smoking Rate: 11.80%
High School Smoking Rate: 1.80%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 15.30%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 0.90%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 28,030
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2022 Texas School 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.

Texas Information

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

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