Navigation Links
Smoke-Free Workplace Laws, Cigarette Taxes on the Rise

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 tobacco control treaty, which was signed by President George W. Bush in 2004, but has never been sent to the Senate for approval.

On the plus side, Toomey singled out New York City for special praise. Smoking rates in New York City have continued to decline, while across the nation rates have stalled, she said. Toomey said she believes that city officials have the political will and a workable plan to reduce smoking.

To illustrate her point, Toomey noted that smoking rates among high school students in New York City dropped to 8.5 percent from 17.6 percent, and the smoking rate for teenage girls dropped to 8.6 percent from 12 percent in 2005.

Toomey also praised Maine for its high cigarette tax and smoke-free air laws and its continued funding of smoking-prevention programs. While no state got straight A's in this year's report card, Maine had three A's and a B, the best showing by any state.

Tennessee also received praise for strengthening its smoke-free air law in 2007. Tennessee is the first traditional tobacco-growing state to pass strong restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces, Toomey said.

In addition, 21 states have passed comprehensive smoke-free air laws, Billings said. "Sadly, 18 states continue to get an 'F' in this category, leaving millions of Americans exposed to potentially lethal secondhand smoke in public places," he said.

Despite evidence that smoking-prevention programs keep teens from starting to smoke and help motivate adults to quit, only six states fund these programs at the level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Billings said.

"Only nine states received an 'A' for funding their programs at 90 percent or more of the CDC's recommended funding level," Billings said. "Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico received an 'F' for tobacco prevention and control funding," he added.

Ten states received an "A" for laws that limit children's access to tobacco products, while 17 states continued to get "Fs," Billings said.

Billings noted that taxes on tobacco have stopped millions of Americans from smoking or prompted them to quit. Twenty-five states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have taxes of a dollar or more per pack, and nine states have taxes of two dollars or more, he said. The highest tax is in New Jersey ($2.575 a pack). "South Carolina is the worst with only a seven-cent-a-pack tax," he said.

Aggressive anti-smoking campaigns are needed, Toomey said, to blunt the effects of the tobacco industry's aggressive marketing efforts. "The tobacco companies haven't let up," she said. "The five largest cigarette companies spent $13.1 billion annually in marketing their addictive deadly product in 2005."

Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Phillip Morris USA, said his company supports many of the American Lung Association's goals.

"We encourage states to fund smoking-prevention programs," said Phelps. "We also support the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act."

However, Philip Morris USA doesn't support raising tobacco taxes, Phelps said. "We believe funding programs with a declining revenue source -- cigarette sales have been declining for many years -- we don't think that raising taxes makes sense, and we oppose large increases in excise taxes," he said.

Pete Fisher, vice president for state issues at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, agrees with the report card's findings and what needs to be done.

"The report confirms again that, while we all know what to do to reduce tobacco use, what we need is political will and political leadership to do it," he said. "The report makes it clear that political leadership at the federal level and in many states has failed to enact the measures that we know will reduce tobacco use."

Fisher also believes that Congress should pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. "The states should redouble their efforts to increase taxes and smoke-free laws and fully fund tobacco cessation and prevention programs," he added.

More information

To learn more about the dangers of smoking and how to quit, visit the American Lung Association.

SOURCES: Jan. 8, 2008, teleconference with Bernadette Toomey, president and CEO, American Lung Association, New York City; Paul Billings, vice president for national policy and advocacy, American Lung Association, New York City; Pete Fisher, vice president, state issues, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, D.C.; Bill Phelps, spokesman, Phillip Morris USA; State of Tobacco Control 2007 report card, American Lung Association, Jan. 10, 2008

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Fresh Air Campaign to Showcase Minnesotans Love of Smoke-Free Air
2. Health and Business Groups Launch Ad Campaign About Need for Comprehensive Smoke-Free Law in Pennsylvania
3. Help is Available for Smokers Who Want to Quit as Minnesotas Smoke-Free Law Takes Effect Oct. 1
4. Maryland, Minnesota Go Smoke-free Oct. 1 - Pennsylvania Overdue in Following Suit
5. Minneapolis Hosts National Conference on Tobacco or Health October 24-26 on Heels of Minnesotas Statewide, Smoke-Free Law
6. New Poll Finds Nearly Seven in 10 New Jersey Voters Support Smoke-Free Casinos
7. Colorado Casinos Clear the Air and Become Smoke-Free in 2008
8. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Nationally Recognized by BusinessWeek and AARP for Creating a Unique Workplace Environment for New and Mature Employees
9. SAE International Recognized for Workplace Wellness
10. New Website Contributes to Healthy Workplace Culture
11. Steelcase Unveils the Walkstation to Bring Healthy Habits to The Workplace
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... Managed Care, a recent study has shown that women who successfully lose weight with ... women in the United States each year. The article notes that anywhere from 40 ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Symposium Chairman, Dr. Rod J. Rohrich is pleased ... to be held March 2nd and 3rd, 2016. The annual meeting, along with the ... cosmetic physicians from around the world. , Key topics at this year's event will ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... Relay (, a technology company that ... significant contract that will provide its award-winning private messaging solution to Independence Blue ... success of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, which now has over 550,000 members ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... NavaFit Inc. today announced the ... others to train with, participate in local fitness & sporting events, and stay ... , “As high medical costs drive us to get more serious about fitness and ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... Protein is essential to good health. You need it to make ... much protein does the average man need in order to stay healthy? , ... issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch . Most Americans get about 15% of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Health Gorilla ( ) today announced the ... a secure platform for clinical data and communications poised to ... manage healthcare in the US. The launch follows the closing ... total of $4.4M raised to date, with Data Collective ... , Harris Barton , Orfin Ventures and ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... --> --> Opportunities for ... Asthma and COPD Therapies market? Which areas are going to ... report shows you potential revenues to 2025, assessing data, trends, ... tables, charts, and graphs. Discover the most lucrative areas in ... lets you assess forecasted sales at overall world market and ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... SPRINGS, N.C. , Oct. 13, 2015  Yesterday ... NVS Influenza Vaccines Holly Springs manufacturing site located in ... Since 2014, the facility has produced Flucelvax ® ... has the potential for faster start-up and is not ... 2015 CSL Limited acquired the influenza vaccines business of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: