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State Support for Programs to Decrease Tobacco Use Among Teens and Adults on the Decline According to Trend Report Released Today
Date:8/12/2008

American Lung Association Calls Upon Lawmakers to Reinvigorate their Commitment to Tobacco Control by Joining the Smokefree 2010 Challenge

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite 46 states and the District of Columbia receiving an estimated $1 billion in additional funds this April from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, a new report from the American Lung Association finds fewer states are implementing policy initiatives to reduce tobacco use than in recent years. The 2008 mid-term update to the American Lung Association's State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues or SLATI report, uncovered a pattern of decreased and flat funding for state tobacco control programs.

Smoking cessation counseling, support groups, hotlines and advertising campaigns are among the many elements of state sponsored tobacco control programs that work to prevent teens and young adults from using tobacco products and provide smokers with the tools and support needed to quit. Other state measures that help to prevent and reduce tobacco use include higher tobacco taxes and strong smokefree air laws.

Earlier this year, the state of Ohio virtually eliminated its successful tobacco control programs when funding earmarked by the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was diverted to other state programs. Previously, Ohio's tobacco control initiatives had demonstrated a continued decline in smoking rates in the state, especially among youth.

"It's utterly disappointing to see states like Ohio let down its residents by tossing out programs that have been proven to prevent tobacco use and ultimately the health consequences associated with it, said Bernadette A. Toomey, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "When states are committed to tobacco control programs, residents reap the positive health rewards. That is why the American Lung Association is leading the way to make every state smokefree by 2010."

"States must urgently reprioritize their commitment to protect their citizens from tobacco related death and illness. The emotional and economic impact this has on our country is staggering," added Toomey. "It is now in the states' hands to improve the health of our nation by going smokefree by 2010. We are here to support our legislative partners every step of the way."

It should be noted that a handful of states have made important strides so far this year. The American Lung Association applauds Iowa and Nebraska for approving comprehensive smokefree laws prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars. With the addition of these two states, 23 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have now met the American Lung Association's Smokefree Air 2010 Challenge.

Also in 2008, New York and Massachusetts as well as the District of Columbia increased their cigarette taxes by $1.00 per pack or more. New York now replaces New Jersey as the state with the highest cigarette tax at $2.75 per pack. Large increases in state cigarette taxes are directly linked to decreased smoking especially among children.

A PDF copy of 2008 SLATI Mid-Term Report is available online at: http://slati.lungusa.org/midtermreports.asp. This website is also the home of the online version of SLATI, which is updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in state tobacco control laws throughout the year. SLATI is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws. Production of the 2008 SLATI Mid-Term Report is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.

For more information on the American Lung Association's Smokefree Air 2010 Challenge, go to http://www.lungusa.org/smokefree2010.

About the American Lung Association: Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates are currently increasing while other major causes of death are declining. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to http://www.lungusa.org.


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SOURCE American Lung Association
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