“State of Tobacco Control” Report
February 2, 2017
In the 21st Century, tobacco products are still one of this nation’s biggest killers. Cigarettes, like alcohol, are legal for adult consumption (age for legal use varies from state to state) despite the insidious effects that they have on one’s health. Ever since the Surgeon General declared that cigarettes does in fact kill people, efforts have been made by the federal government, state lawmakers and various organizations to deter use and help people with smoking cessation.
Such efforts have paid off in a number of ways, especially with young people. The Monitoring the Future annual survey found that cigarette smoking among teens in grades 8, 10 and 12 in 2015 reached the lowest levels recorded since annual tracking began 41 years ago. Another year of continued decline. But with the introduction of e-cigarettes into the realm of societal norms, there are new concerns.
While e-cigarettes are often considered to be less dangerous than their traditional counterparts, they are still a nicotine delivery system. Given that nicotine is addictive and has been associated with potentially leading to the use of other mind altering substances, concerns about use of such devices are warranted. After years of debate, the FDA finally was given authority over all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, leading to regulations which will hopefully deter use.
Is Enough Being Done About Tobacco?
Despite a steady decline in cigarette use with most age groups, the American Lung Association (ALA) is convinced that more can be done on both the state and federal level. Every year, the ALA releases the American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report. Included in the annual report is the grading of both states and the federal government for efforts to reduce tobacco use. Sadly, both the federal government and most states earned failing grades from the Association, MedPage Today reports. However, there were some achievements last year that are worth noting.
Efforts to raise the legal age of tobacco to 21 years of age have been successful in a couple states. In 2016 alone, the District of Columbia, California and a number of cities passed what are known as Tobacco 21 laws, according to the report. The FDA “Deeming Rule” took effect on August 8, 2016, giving the agency oversight over e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah, pipe tobacco and all other tobacco products.
California earned the highest grade once again in 2016 for the efforts to reduce tobacco use. The ALA report based its high grade for California on the state’s passing five laws, as well as the voters in support of Proposition 56 in November. Prop 56 will increase the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack as well as increase other tobacco product taxes. What’s more, California:
- Raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.
- Passed a comprehensive quit smoking benefit for Medicaid recipients.
- Added e-cigarettes to the smokefree workplace law.
- Proposition 56 also increases funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
It would be nice to see other states follow California’s lead in the coming years.
Tobacco In Recovery
Smoking cessation is important for people who are working a program of recovery. Cigarettes are not only deadly; research shows that it can heighten one’s risk of relapse. If you are entering treatment for substance abuse, it is always advised that you consider quitting. You will not just feel better, you will likely strengthen your recovery.