American Lung Association Gives Failing Grades In Tobacco Control To Some States

By Duna Bil , Jan 26, 2017 12:03 AM EST

Most states are flunking the American Lung Association (ALA) tobacco control test including Missouri, Arkansas, and New Jersey. Most of US sates got at least one F, sending the message that they have not done enough to implement policies that reduce tobacco use, and that deaths from lung cancer might still be high. However, those in the fight against tobacco say, even with the low grades, some progress is still being made.

The ALA report scores all 50 states, including the federal government on four tobacco control policies. These are tobacco control and prevention spending, smoke-free air, tobacco taxes, and cessation coverage. Specifically, states are given scores on funding for smoking cessation programs, prohibiting smoking in workplaces, tobacco taxes, coverage and availability of services to help people quit tobacco, and the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products.

The American Lung Association gives both Missouri and Arkansas F in four out of five categories, the KY3  reports. The report says for prevention programs this year, Arkansas budgeted more than $9 million, while Missouri only budgeted $110,000. Meanwhile, New Jersey, is one of only two states in the country that has zero funding for tobacco cessation programs as taxpayers shoulder $4 billion in tobacco-related health expenses, according to the new national report.

Arkansas got it's best grade, a C, for smoke-free workplace laws, because it includes bars and restaurants. Cigarette taxes are $1.15 a pack in Arkansas, and only 17 cents in Missouri, the lowest in the nation. Missouri scored its best grade a D, in access to cessation services, the pressofatlanticcity  reports.

Glenda Miller, Cox Nurse Manager who teaches free smoking cessation  classes says there is progress. The percent of smokers in Missouri is down to 22 percent. In New Jersey, about 14.8 percent of adults smoke, and 8.2 percent of high school students.The American Lung Association reported that 11,780 state residents deaths were caused by smoking-related diseases between 2005 and 2009.

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