RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — A new report by the American Lung Association isn’t flattering for Virginia’s effort in preventing tobacco use.
This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report from the American Lung Association grades federal and state efforts to reduce tobacco use.
The report shows that Virginia earned failing grades on reducing and preventing tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.
The American Lung Association says tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease by taking an estimated 480,000 lives every year.
To address the issue, the “State of Tobacco Control” is providing a roadmap for the federal and state policies needed to prevent and reduce tobacco use.
The report, in its 19th year, shows that 2021 “has the opportunity to take action and policy to increase tobacco tax and create parity among other tobacco products, comprehensive retail licensing and removing all flavored products from the market in order to protect youth from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is more urgent than ever,” reads an article on the American Lung Association’s website.
In the “State of Tobacco Control” study, Virginia grades state and the District of Columbia in five areas — all of which received a grade of “F.”
- Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
- Strength of Smoke-Free Workplace Laws – Grade F
- Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F
- NEW! Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F
Nationwide, the study has also graded the federal government in five areas, including:
- Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – 2021: Grade D
- Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – 2021: Grade D
- Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – 2020: Grade F
- Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – 2021: Grade A
- Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – 2021: Grade A
“State of Tobacco Control” 2021 provides an important roadmap on how states like Virginia and the federal government can put in place the policies proven to have the greatest impact on reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Because of COVID-19, we are all thinking more about lung health. Now is the time for lawmakers in Virginia to act and take this opportunity to achieve lasting reductions in tobacco-related death and disease.”Aleks Casper, American Lung Association Director