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Smoke-Free Workplace Laws, Cigarette Taxes on the Rise
Date:1/10/2008

But more needs to be done on federal, state levels to combat tobacco use, report says

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Anti-tobacco campaigns registered some significant gains in 2007, with more states banning smoking in public places.

But there's still too little federal and state funding for smoking-prevention and cessation programs, and many states haven't increased their cigarette taxes.

That's the conclusion of the American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control 2007 report card, released Thursday.

"Tobacco remains the number one preventable cause of death in America," Bernadette Toomey, the lung association's president and CEO, said during a Tuesday teleconference. "Diseases related to tobacco kill more than 438,000 Americans each year. If effective policies were implemented, this dreadful toll would be greatly reduced."

Tobacco control policies work, Toomey added. "But what we need is the political will on the part of our leaders to implement these proven policies," she said.

On the federal level, Toomey called on Congress to pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products.

The lung association's sixth annual report card graded the federal government on several key measures. They included the 39-cent federal excise tax on cigarettes; the status of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; ongoing federal anti-smoking programs; and the need to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control -- an international tobacco control treaty.

The report card results weren't encouraging.

"The federal government's grades this year are abysmal -- one 'D' and three 'F's," Paul Billings, the association's vice president for national policy and advocacy, said during Tuesday's teleconference. The "D" was for the failure to ratify the tobac
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