American Lung Association Report Shows That States Surpass Federal Government in Protecting Children From Tobacco
CHICAGO, IL -- 05/03/2005 -- Most of the significant progress being made in this country to combat tobacco use is occurring at the state level, according to a report released today by the American Lung Association during the 2005 National Conference on Health or Tobacco in Chicago. In its annual update of State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (http://slati.lungusa.org), or SLATI (published since 1988), the Lung Association analyzes state laws enacted in 2004 on smokefree air, youth access, tobacco taxes and public health spending, among other issues.
“We found that 2004 was an active year for state tobacco-related legislation. Encouraging progress was made as cigarette taxes were increased in 11 states and 3 more states adopted comprehensive laws to protect people from secondhand smoke in worksites and public places,” said John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.
Commenting on these two trends, Kirkwood said, "Higher cigarette prices will mean fewer cigarettes bought and smoked by youth and adults. Comprehensive smokefree air laws protect workers and patrons from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Both higher taxes and stronger indoor air laws help current tobacco users quit and discourage children from starting to smoke.
“Unfortunately, most states are not adequately funding tobacco control and prevention programs, and recent cigarette tax increases have failed to dedicate any of the revenue to these programs, which would increase the impact of increased cigarette taxes,” he said.
Kirkwood also noted that local cigarette tax increases are contributing to significant reductions in smoking rates. "A May 2004 study showed an 11 percent reduction in smoking rates among adults in New York City during 2003 after the cigarette tax was increased in 2002 from 8 cents to $1.50 per pack.
Key findings of the American Lung Association State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues 2004:
-- Taxes. In 2004, 11 states increased their cigarette excise taxes. Those 11 states are: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. Rhode Island now has the highest tax at $2.46 per pack. The national average rose to 84 cents per pack as of January 1, 2005, up 12 cents from the previous year.
-- Smokefree Air. In 2004, Idaho, Massachusetts and Rhode Island joined six other states -- California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine and New York -- in taking action to protect most workers and citizens from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Massachusetts passed a law prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Rhode Island passed a law, effective March 1, 2005, prohibiting smoking in most public places and workplaces, including restaurants and most bars. Idaho passed a law prohibiting smoking in most workplaces and all restaurants, but excluded stand-alone bars and allowed workplaces with five or fewer employees to have designated smoking rooms.
-- Program Cuts. Although a previous trend toward drastic cuts to tobacco prevention programs largely stopped in 2004, very few states moved to restore funding for these vital public health programs. Only four states (Arkansas, Delaware, Maine and Mississippi) funded their tobacco control programs at or above the minimum level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in FY2005.
SLATI is available online by visiting http://slati.lungusa.org and is updated on a regular basis. Media may obtain a copy of the report by contacting Josephine Ceselski at 202/785-3355. Non-media should contact Thomas Carr at 202/785-3355.
SLATI complements a report released in January 2005, the American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2004, which grades state tobacco laws. For more information on that report, go to: http://www.lungusa.org.
For 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. 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 or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to www.lungusa.org.
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