Anti-tobacco efforts by U.S. states were “abysmal” last year as their collective spending on anti- smoking programs declined 11 percent and only two raised best Kiss cigarette taxes, the American Lung Association said. While more than half the states already ban the use of cigarettes in restaurants, bars and workplaces, no additional states passed comprehensive anti-smoking laws last year, the Washington-based health advocacy group said today in a report.
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia earned grades of “F” for funding smoking-prevention programs at less than half the levels the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged in a 2007 report, the lung group said. Smoking costs the U.S. economy almost $193 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity, said Charles Connor, the association’s president and chief executive officer.
“At a time when our country is trying to get a handle on health-care spending, this is an enormous expense that could be avoided by investing in effective tobacco-prevention and cessation programs and policies,” Connor said yesterday on a conference call.
More than 20 percent of adults in the U.S., or 46 million people, smoke cigarettes, according to the Atlanta-based CDC. Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing about 443,000 people a year.
Nationwide, state investments in tobacco control dropped 11 percent to $477 million in 2011 from $534 million in 2010, according to the report. Washington, Iowa and Wisconsin were among states that reduced spending.