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

ident and CEO of the American Lung Association, said in a news release from the association.

But he added that "political leaders in the states need to stand up to the tobacco industry and enact policies proven to reduce the devastating death and disease caused by tobacco use."

In an effort to boost revenues to help cope with record deficits, 14 states and the District of Columbia raised cigarette taxes in 2009. However, 10 states and the District of Columbia sharply reduced funding for tobacco control and prevention programs.

For example, Wisconsin increased its cigarette tax by 75 cents but cut funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs by more than half. New Hampshire increased its cigarette tax by 45 cents but didn't spend a single state dollar on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, the lung association said.

The report also found a dramatic slowing in the pace of states passing comprehensive smoke-free air laws.

"Increasing tobacco taxes and requiring smoke-free workplaces are two important steps in reducing the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. But that is still not enough. Comprehensive cessation programs must also be made available to support them in quitting," Mary H. Partridge, chair of the national board of the lung association, said in the news release.

No states received straight "As" on the association's report card, but six states received all "Fs" -- Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Here's what the report card said about the states and the District of Columbia:

  • State Cigarette Taxes: Only four states received an "A" by imposing taxes of $2.68 or more. Among states that raised cigarette taxes, three (Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia made cuts of 25 percent or more to their funding of tobacco control programs.
  • Smoke-free Air: Only three states
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