Most states are failing in their efforts to curb smoking and tobacco use despite collecting billions in tobacco taxes and settlements, according to a new study by the American Lung Association.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
reported Thursday that Virginia and five other states received failing grades in the association’s annual State of Tobacco Control report.
The report examines each state’s policies regarding prevention programs, tobacco taxes, anti-smoking laws, and health-coverage issues.
The study also found at least 13 states had eliminated or cut funding for prevention programs last year, and not a single state had passed a new law regulating public smoking. Nevada weakened its existing public-smoking law, the report noted.
“Most states failed miserably to protect citizens from tobacco-related diseases in 2011,” the newspaper quoted association president Thomas A Carr as saying. “Some states even regressed.”
The report criticized Virginia — a tobacco growing state and home to big tobacco companies — for having the nation’s second-lowest tax on cigarettes and for cutting prevention programs.
Alaska, the report notes, is the only state that still measures up when it comes to funding prevention programs at the levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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