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New American Lung Association Report Reveals States Failing to Enact Lifesaving Tobacco Control Policies
Date:4/22/2009

--Only Two States Passed Comprehensive Smokefree Laws, Three plus DC Raised Tobacco Taxes--

WASHINGTON, April 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a report released today by the American Lung Association, 2008 proved to be a slow year for tobacco control policies on the state level, with only a select few taking the steps that are needed to curb tobacco use and save lives.

In its annual update of State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues or SLATI, now in its 21st year of publication, the American Lung Association tracks the passage of legislation and other state policies related to tobacco control and prevention, including tobacco taxes, smoking restrictions and funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. SLATI is the only comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws, and is also available online at http://slati.lungusa.org. The website is updated regularly to reflect changes in tobacco control laws as they take effect.

"Unfortunately, the significant momentum previously achieved with the passage of smokefree workplace laws stalled during 2008," said Stephen J. Nolan, American Lung Association National Board Chair. "Only two states joined the American Lung Association's Smokefree Air Challenge by adopting comprehensive laws prohibiting smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars."

To date, 24 states including South Dakota just last month, plus the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive smokefree laws as part of the American Lung Association's Smokefree Air challenge. A map illustrating the nation's progress towards becoming smokefree can be found online at: www.lungusa.org/smokefree.

Only three states and the District of Columbia passed increases in their tobacco taxes in 2008, bringing the average state cigarette tax up to $1.19 a pack. This is a dramatic increase from the beginning of 2002 when the average tax was only 44.6 cents per pack. The revenue from tobacco taxes sometimes funds state tobacco control programs. However, no state has met the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended funding level for these vital public health programs in fiscal year 2009.

"Higher cigarette prices help prevent children from starting to smoke and motivate adults to quit," explained Nolan. "The revenue increased tobacco taxes generate can and should be used to fund state tobacco control programs in order to save even more lives from the death and disease caused by tobacco use."

A PDF version of SLATI 2008 is available online at http://slati.lungusa.org.

SLATI 2008 complements an American Lung Association report released in January 2009, the State of Tobacco Control 2008 report, which grades state tobacco control laws. For more information and to view that report, visit: www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org.

About the American Lung Association: Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungusa.org.


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SOURCE American Lung Association
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