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Across the country, America as a nation did an almost uniformly horrible job of tobacco control in 2011, according to the American Lung Association (via WebMD).Only seven states received a passing grade on their ALA Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending report card, with the other 43 and the District of Columbia receiving an F.
The biggest reason for these terrible grades could be budget cuts, which were drastic. In 2010, states spent a total of $533.7 million overall in tobacco prevention programs. In 2011, the nationwide investment fell to $477.1 million.
The result was deep cuts in programs in 2011, in states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington and Rhode Island.
Thus, the report concludes that most states did little to protect children and curb tobacco-related disease. The word the ALA used to describe the situation was “abysmal.”
Among the gripes leveled by the ALA:
- Zero states passed a comprehensive smokefree workplace law (and Nevada weakened its current law).
- Tobacco prevention and quit-smoking programs in a number of states were diminished by funding cuts or were virtually eliminated.
- For the first time since 2003, no state raised its tobacco tax significantly.
On the other hand, the tobacco industry didn’t let a bad economy keep it down: spending on new products meant to entice younger people to start using tobacco — like nicotine toothpicks and breath mints — is on the rise, while state childhood smoking programs are being reduced.
The federal government was praised for its tobacco regulation, but the delay on putting graphic labels on cigarette packaging is just one example of how the federal level could isn’t doing enough to combat the issue.
You can see how your state fared in keeping unwanted cigarette smoke out of your lungs here.