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Tobacco Report Shows Failure of Government

January 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health, including fighting illness and death caused by tobacco use.

The American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2008 report assigns letter grades to each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government for specific tobacco control policies.

Not one state earned all “A”s in the report.

California earned an A grade for its smoke-free air laws; a D for its cigarette tax rate; an F for tobacco prevention and control program funding; and a D for coverage of cessation treatments and services. Grades are calculated by comparing policies against standards that are based on the most current, recognized scientific criteria for effective tobacco control measures.

The American Lung Association of California also released local grades for 297 cities and 30 of the 58 counties in California. The local grades cover three key policy areas including: smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products. An overall tobacco control grade was awarded to each of these municipalities. While there are some excellent local grades, a majority of the grades reflect the need to do more to protect against secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing and outdoor environments. To see results for the 10 largest cities as well as a complete report of local grades, go to http://californialung.org/sotc-ca-local.

The report grades federal tobacco control efforts based on the federal cigarette tax; U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco products; federal coverage of tobacco cessation treatments; and the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the world’s first public health treaty, aimed at reducing tobacco use globally).

The federal government failed in three of four categories, mustering only a D for signing but not ratifying the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty, and scoring Fs for failing to implement comprehensive cessation treatments, failing to give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, and having a cigarette tax that is too low to protect public health. The bill authorizing FDA regulation of tobacco products passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives in July, but was not considered by the U.S. Senate before they adjourned for 2008.

The tobacco companies continue to be a significant barrier to the enactment of strong and effective tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels. Money remains at the heart of the companies’ political influence as over $6 million was contributed to state and federal politicians!

For the full report go to: www.lungusa.org

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

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