1. Maintain or increase funding for state's tobacco prevention and control program;
2. Increase excise taxes on tobacco products by $1.00 per pack or more; and
3. Strengthen state laws related to tobacco retailer licensing.
The American Lung Association in Utah provides leadership in convening partners and guiding public policy efforts to continue the state's success in reducing the impact of tobacco. 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.
Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 23, a bill that restricts the sale of flavored e-cigarettes to retail only 21+ specialty shops, however it exempts mint and menthol flavors. The bill also adds new preemption on local laws for age of sale, sales provisions, flavors, and product placement and display. The Lung Association and our partners asked for a veto of this bill but were unsuccessful. Governor Gary Herbert also signed a bill that creates a 56% manufacturers list price tax on e-cigarette liquids, adds a provision reducing the tax for tobacco products designated "modified risk" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and creates a new e-cigarettes and substance abuse program in the state Department of Health.
The new e-cigarette program resulted in an increase in funding for tobacco control and prevention efforts in the state Department of Health with funding increasing to about $10.7 million in fiscal year 2021. The program is funded by a combination of tobacco Master Settlement Agreement dollars and tobacco, including e-cigarette tax revenue. This much needed increase in funding boosted Utah's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding grade from an F to a C this year.
Moving forward in 2021, the American Lung Association in Utah will once again make it a priority to educate the Utah 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 on raising the excise tax on tobacco products by $1.00 per pack or more.
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $542,335,526
Adult Smoking Rate: 7.9%
High School Smoking Rate: 2.2%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 10.7%
Middle School Smoking Rate: N/A
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 1,340
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking and tobacco use rates are taken from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. A current middle school smoking rate is not available for this state.