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Highlights: Pennsylvania

In 2013, the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania continued its tobacco prevention and cessation advocacy efforts in the Commonwealth.

Emphasis this past year was placed on funding for Pennsylvania's tobacco prevention and cessation program. Gov. Tom Corbett's Administration designated $14.2 million for tobacco control in the fiscal year 2014 budget which is the same amount allocated in 2013. This is considered a victory since many other public health programs received no funding or drastic decreases.

Unfortunately, the funding could be in jeopardy due to an unfavorable arbitration ruling in September 2013 in an ongoing dispute over Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payments between the state and tobacco product manufacturers that participate in the MSA. If the ruling is not overturned, the tobacco companies would keep most of Pennsylvania's MSA payment that it is due to receive in April 2014. The Lung Association, along with public health partners in the state, is exploring potential solutions to the problem, including increasing the cigarette tax and establishing a tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes to replace the lost revenue.

All of the money from the Master Settlement Agreement was originally dedicated to be used for uncompensated healthcare, tobacco cessation and prevention, research and healthcare assistance. While 12 percent of the funds coming into Pennsylvania were dedicated to tobacco prevention and cessation in the law, lawmakers have routinely decreased this amount as a result of temporary fiscal code changes. The Lung Association continues to advocate for raising this amount to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pennsylvania's clean indoor air law eliminates smoking in many public places and workplaces, including most restaurants, but it has a number of exemptions, including for casinos and some bars. A bill to remove all the exemptions was filed in both the state House of Representatives and Senate in 2013, but neither was heard or released from committee. The Lung Association will continue to work on cleaning up the current law to protect all workers in Pennsylvania from secondhand smoke.

A bill was also introduced in the Senate to require comprehensive coverage of tobacco cessation treatments under private health insurance plans issued in the state. Sadly, the bill did not even get a hearing.

In 2014, the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania will focus its efforts on the fight to protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke, prevent kids from starting to smoke and motivate adults to quit.

Pennsylvania State Facts

Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $9,423,966,000
Adult Smoking Rate: 21.4%
High School Smoking Rate: 18.6%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 3.4%
Smoking Attributable Deaths: 20,025
Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths: 6,395
Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths: 4,971

Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2010 Youth Tobacco Survey.

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