Report Gives California Low Grades for Smoking Cessation Efforts
The report praised California for its efforts to persuade residents to stop smoking, but it criticized the state for not raising cigarette taxes from the current 87 cents per pack.
ALA found that California is one of only three states that has not increased cigarette taxes since 1999.
In addition, the report criticized state lawmakers for failing to pass legislation that would have removed exemptions from rules for smoke-free locations.
ALA gave the state an F grade for allocating money for smoking cessation programs. The organization said that California spends $68.8 million annually on such efforts, which is 15.5% of what CDC has recommended.
The report also gave California an F grade for its efforts to push insurers to cover anti-smoking treatments.
In addition, the report gave the state aÂ D grade for its cigarette tax and an AÂ grade for restrictions on where individuals can smoke (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/16).
Marsha Ramos -- chair of the American Lung Association's California governing board -- said, "The California Legislature must make it a priority to pass a [higher] tobacco tax and invest the money in California's pioneering tobacco prevention program."
She said, "Tobacco taxes for tobacco prevention will save the state billions of dollars in health care costs while preventing kids from ever beginning to smoke and helping current smokers quit" (Payers & Providers, 1/17).
The report found that federal government and a majority of states have allotted inadequate funds to pay for anti-tobacco programs (Seidman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/16).
In fiscal year 2013, states spent a total of $462.5 million of the more than $25 billion they collected from tobacco-related taxes and settlements on smoking cessation and prevention initiatives, which is slightly more than 10% of CDC's recommended spending level (Gray, Reuters, 1/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.