The American Lung Association just released their 16th annual scorecard on the states and the federal government commitment to implementing proven laws and policies to quell the tobacco epidemic.
The report cites the good progress made in the United States in reducing tobacco use since 2000; reducing prevalence among adults from 23.5% to 16.5%. However, about 40 million adults still smoke cigarettes, and tragically the progress made to date has been disproportionate. Interestingly; people who are uninsured, with mental health problems, American Indian, LGBTQIA community, who live in public housing, rural areas, or states with less comprehensive tobacco control laws, continue to smoke at much higher rates than the general population.
We know what will work to provide these people with equal opportunity to stop using tobacco. The American Lung Association reviews five key factors that are proven to work, and that can help address these disparities.
- Funding of tobacco control programs consistently and in the amount suggested by the Center for Disease Control
- Comprehensive smoke free air laws
- Increasing the cost of tobacco
- Providing insurance coverage for proven cessation treatment
- Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21
The report rates each of the states in these areas. I encourage you to look at the report, and check on your state. How is your state doing? About 500,000 people in the USA continue to die from smoking caused illnesses each year. We can bring this tragedy to an end with the right policies and the political will.
We look forward to any comments from the Community.