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American Lung Association Report Card Flunks Federal Government and Most States for Neglecting to Prevent Tobacco Caused Illness
Date:1/13/2009

FEDERAL RESULTS:

Despite a number of strong steps forward in 2008 including the House passage of a bill that would allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the tobacco industry, the federal government again failed to fully enact meaningful tobacco control legislation.

The American Lung Association calculates federal tobacco control grades based on the following:

  • FDA regulation of tobacco products
  • Coverage of tobacco cessation treatments
  • Amount of federal cigarette tax
  • Ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the international tobacco control treaty)

Federal grades:

  • "F" for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products -- The bill authorizing FDA regulation of tobacco products passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives but was not considered by the U.S. Senate before they adjourned for 2008. The American Lung Association urges the Congress and President-Elect Obama to prioritize the FDA's regulation of manufactured tobacco products in 2009. The legislation has tremendous bipartisan support and has been endorsed by 700 public health, faith, education and children's groups.
  • "F" for Cessation -- The federal government's policies on cessation coverage are weak or nonexistent. While the Medicare prescription drug benefit covers smoking cessation drugs for its patients, the federal government does not require state Medicaid programs to cover cessation treatments and services for Medicaid recipients.
  • "F" for Federal Cigarette Tax -- The federal government's cigarette tax is $0.39 (per pack of 20), well below the "F" standard of anything under $0.595. Grading criteria are based on research showing that as the price of cigarettes increases, consumption decreases. Thus, the higher the tax, the better.

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SOURCE The American Lung Association
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