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State Tobacco Control a Mixed Bag
Date:6/12/2009

Though there has been progress, the challenges continue, experts say

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Efforts to help people quit smoking vary from state to state, and despite progress over the years, there is still a long way to go, a new report concludes.

The news appears particularly timely given Thursday's historic Senate vote to put tobacco products under federal control.

The report, Cigarette Smoking Prevalence and Policies in the 50 States: An Era of Change -- the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ImpacTeen Tobacco Chart Book, is a systematic review of national trends and tobacco-control policy and smoking behaviors in all 50 states.

"There are some areas of progress, and some areas where we are not doing so good," said study author Gary G. Giovino, chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the University of Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions. Giovino presented the report Wednesday at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health meeting in Phoenix.

Progress includes more people living in smoke-free homes and more states passing smoke-free air laws, Giovino said. "The country is becoming a smoke-free society," he said.

But at the same time, states are cutting funding for tobacco-control programs, Giovino added. "Over the years, states have taken more money in from excise taxes and the tobacco settlement payments, and yet they have cut back on tobacco-control funding," he said. "That doesn't seem right to me."

According to the report, after 40 years of efforts to get people to stop smoking, one-fifth of American adults still smoke. Smoking among those with lower levels of education and income, Native Americans and people with psychiatric and substance-abuse problems is even more prevalent.

Another group that needs to be targeted is young adults, where smoking rates are increasing, Giovino said.

In addition, disparities in tobacco
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