Today, the American Lung Association released its 14th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report that finds that in 2015 Ohio had mixed results on tobacco control policies that will save lives.
Although Ohio received an F for Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding, it did receive a thumbs up for increasing its funding by approximately $4.4 million dollars this year.
Ohio also saw its grade for Access to Cessation Services increase from an F to a C. The grade was changed because the state made a significant increase in the amount it invests in providing quitline services to smokers.
The state also received an F for Tobacco Taxes. The state did increase the cigarette tax last year by 35 cents. Unfortunately that amount is not enough to raise the grade nor is it the kind of high cigarette tax increase that is most effective at encouraging smokers to quit and reducing smoking rates.
The report also finds that most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States’ overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease.
“Ohio is missing a clear opportunity to save lives by not taking action to prevent and reduce tobacco use. We must also face the reality that youth use of other tobacco products nationwide like e-cigarettes and little cigars is at an all-time high,” said Shelly Kiser, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio. “Nearly a quarter of high school students are using tobacco products, and it is crucial that Ohio take aggressive action to reduce all tobacco use – the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in our nation and Ohio.”
The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failure of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use. The report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.
Ohio’s mixed grades in “State of Tobacco Control 2016” show that progress is possible, although even more needs to be done by our Governor, State Legislature, and local elected officials to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:
• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – Grade F
• Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
• Smokefree Air – Grade A
• Access to Cessation Services – Grade C
The American Lung Association in Ohio calls on state lawmakers to increase the Other Tobacco Products Tax, which covers non-cigarette forms of tobacco like cigars, spit tobacco and hookah, to match the cigarette tax. Doing so will reduce the use of these products especially among youth. We also call on council members in towns across Ohio to adopt Tobacco 21 legislation to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco. This legislation has been shown to reduce youth smoking rates and improve birth outcomes.
The federal government earned an F for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulation of Tobacco Products, a C for Federal Cessation Coverage, an F for Tobacco Taxes and a B for its Mass Media Campaigns, a new grading area in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.
“It’s not a secret how we can reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Kiser. “We must demand that our elected officials in Ohio urgently act to implement these proven policies to save lives.”
The full State of Tobacco Control report can be found at www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org.