January 21, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health
On Wednesday, the American Lung Association (ALA) released its annual State of Tobacco Control 2015 report giving California low scores for lagging behind the rest of the nation in its tobacco control policies. California received a B grade for its smokefree air policies, but then dropped to an F grade for its low tobacco taxes and failing to sufficiently fund tobacco prevention and control programs. The report also gave the state a D for poor coverage of smoking cessation and treatment services.
These grades reflect the fact that while California was once a national leader in tobacco control policies, its current efforts in tobacco control are not enough. Exacerbating California’s weakened position on tobacco prevention is the fact that the state has not increased its cigarette tax since 1999 and now ranks 33rd in the country at 87 cents per pack. Texas, Oklahoma and Montana now have higher tobacco taxes than California.
The ALA also announced that it has joined the California Medical Association and the Save Lives California coalition in its effort to pass a lifesaving $2 per pack tobacco tax in California – either through the legislature or by ballot measure – by the end of 2016. The coalition believes that a tax increase on tobacco will not only save lives, but will also save California taxpayers billions in health care costs.
The ALA report looked at all 482 incorporated cities and towns in California and all 58 counties. Local grades were awarded in three categories: smokefree outdoor air, smokefree housing and reducing sales of tobacco products.
To read the report, click here.