State Receives “F” for Inadequate Funding of Tobacco Prevention
In an American Lung Association report card released Thursday, California received an "F" grade for failing to sufficiently finance its tobacco prevention and control programs, the San Bernardino Sun reports (Steinberg, San Bernardino Sun, 1/19).
As part of the nationwide report, the American Lung Association in California issued a report that graded California cities and counties on their tobacco control initiatives throughout 2011 (Mitchell, Chico Enterprise-Record, 1/20).
According to the report, California has fallen from its position as a leader in tobacco control policies (Seipel, San Mateo County Times, 1/19).
The report gave California an "F" for inadequate coverage of smoking cessation treatments and services and gave the state a "D" for its cigarette tax. California has an 87-cent tax on cigarette packs, compared with the national average of $1.46 (San Bernardino Sun, 1/19).
California received an "A" for its smoke-free air policies.
For overall tobacco control, the report gave:
- An "A" to 12 cities or counties;
- A "B" to 24 cities or counties;
- A "C" to 63 cities or counties;
- A "D" to 84 cities or counties; and
- An "F" to 355 cities or counties (Chico Enterprise-Record, 1/20).
The report noted that 45 cities and counties adopted new tobacco prevention and control policies last year (San Mateo County Times, 1/19).
According to the association, the report reflects the need for California voters to approve a June ballot measure that would increase the state tobacco tax by $1 per pack. The funding would be put toward treatment and prevention services for tobacco-related illnesses (San Bernardino Sun, 1/19).
Nationally, 43 states and Washington, D.C., earned failing grades for tobacco prevention and control program funding (WebMD/CBS News, 1/19).
ALA said in its report that most states are doing an "abysmal" job with smoking cessation programs, noting that collective spending on the initiatives declined by 11% in 2011 (Peterson, Bloomberg Businessweek, 1/19).
According to the report, 32 states and Washington, D.C., received F grades for not offering comprehensive smoking cessation treatments to Medicaid beneficiaries and for not investing enough in such programs for state workers.
ALA also said states on average did not do enough to protect children from cigarette smoke (WebMD/CBS News, 1/19).
Alaska was the only state that funded tobacco cessation programs at levels CDC recommended in 2007 (Bloomberg Businessweek, 1/19). Meanwhile, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine and Oklahoma were the only states that received passing grades in all categories, although none of them earned straight A's (WebMD/CBS News, 1/19).
Charles Connor, president and CEO of ALA, said, "At a time when our country is trying to get a handle on health care spending," smoking-related medical costs and lost productivity are "an enormous expense that could be avoided by investing in effective tobacco-prevention and cessation programs and policies" (Bloomberg Businessweek, 1/19).