ALA: 40 States Fail in Tobacco Prevention

Forty states are still not putting enough effort into helping and getting people to kick their smoking habits, based on a report card from the American Lung Association (ALA).

At a press conference held on Wednesday, ALA president Charles D. Connor said: “We all can see that public sentiment is turning against smoking… However, it’s a grave mistake to assume that the shift in public thinking about tobacco means that the public health crisis has ended. It hasn’t.”

Connor shared further that 443,000 people die each year due to illnesses related to the use of tobacco, or due to exposure to secondhand smoke; this fact means that tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death. In addition to the loss of life, tobacco-related illnesses cost the country more than $193 billion in health care and lost productivity annually.

“The tobacco companies, meanwhile, aren’t relenting in their campaigns of deception… The industry found new ways in 2010 to market its products and target kids,” Connor added.

The states of Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia were among those who received all F ratings from the ALA. No state was able to receive straight As, while only the states of Arkansas, Montana, Maine, Oklahoma and Vermont were able to get all passing grades. Among the things that were rated by the ALA was the amount of funding allocated for tobacco control programs.

Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that there should be continued effort among states to raise tobacco taxes, fund smoking cessation programs, and pass smoke-free laws.


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