"Follow the Money Trail"
The American Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control" report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2013. The federal government, all 50 state governments and the District of Columbia are graded to determine if tobacco control laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. This is the eleventh year the report has been issued by the American Lung Association.
Money emerges as the core theme in "State of Tobacco Control 2013" – specifically how states fail to invest in preventing and reducing tobacco use, and how the tobacco industry spends money to make more in profits at the expense of the health of the American people. Although smoking alone costs our nation nearly $200 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity each year, the federal government has also failed to aggressively pursue the tobacco industry. Specifically:
- An ever-expanding and evolving tobacco industry pursues new users with ruthless zeal and strengthens its grasp on its current victims by creating new products and new ways to market them; [Read More]
- State governments continue to look the other way as they fail to invest billions of dollars from tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments that should be directed to effectively prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help current tobacco users quit; [Read More]
- With the exception of the federal government's first-ever paid quit smoking campaign, 2012 can best be summarized as a missed opportunity for the Obama Administration to curb the leading cause of preventable death. The Obama Administration's actions to regulate the tobacco industry through the Food and Drug Administration over the past several years ground to a halt in 2012. [Read More]
A new report, "Big Tobacco Wins Tax Battles," released concurrently with "State of Tobacco Control 2013" from the National Institute on Money in State Politics finds that candidates running for re-election in the 2012 election cycle were flush with cash from the tobacco industry. "State of Tobacco Control 2013" closely follows Big Tobacco's money trail, revealing a high-spending, deep-pocketed tobacco industry determined to maintain its market share at the expense of our kids and current smokers, and ensure its champions remain in elected office. Meanwhile state governments, despite receiving billions of dollars from tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments, invest very little of the money in programs that prevent and reduce tobacco use.
The report also examines whether the substantial public health benefits made in reducing cigarette use over the past 10 years will be lost to increases in the use of other tobacco products, including cigars and smokeless, as an ever-expanding industry continues its efforts to keep Americans addicted to tobacco.
More details about the state and federal grading areas and the methodology behind the grades are available here.
The grades in "State of Tobacco Control 2013" reflect how well federal and state tobacco control laws and policies measure up to the best in the nation or to goals set by agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many states have hard-working tobacco control coalitions that encounter stiff resistance from state legislators and powerful tobacco interests. The grades in this report in no way reflect the level of effort invested by the public health community. Instead, it is the responsibility of elected officials to muster the political will to enact these life- and money-saving policies.
Follow the Money Trail and learn more.
For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has worked to save lives by preventing lung disease and promoting lung health, including fighting illness and death caused by tobacco use. Learn more…