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Report Card on Tobacco Control Laws a Mixed Bag
Date:1/12/2010

Federal government took big steps to stem smoking, while most states fell short

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. government took some important steps last year to prevent tobacco-related disease and death, but most states got a failing grade and 10 made alarming cuts to their tobacco control programs, a new report shows.

According to the Tobacco Control 2009 report, released Tuesday by the American Lung Association, the important actions taken by the federal government included giving authority to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products and more than doubling the federal cigarette tax, from 39 cents to $1.01 per pack of 20 cigarettes.

The report card gave the following grades to the federal government:

  • An "A" for regulation of tobacco products. The new powers given to the FDA have tremendous potential to reduce tobacco-related death and disease, it said.
  • A "D" for the increase in the cigarette tax to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program. While the tax increase has persuaded many smokers to try to quit, the new tax still falls short of the "A" standard of $2.68 per pack.
  • An "F" for smoking cessation. The federal government doesn't help smokers quit -- an effort that would save lives and money, the report said.
  • A "D" for failure to ratify the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has been ratified by 168 nations representing 86 percent of the world's population. Failure to ratify the tobacco control treaty means the United States can't participate in negotiations to implement and enforce it.

"Our leaders in Washington have made a strong start in confronting the tobacco epidemic and taking steps that ultimately will save millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars for the American economy. Ending the epidemic, however, will require more hard work," Charles D. Connor, pres
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