Tobacco control programs in Pennsylvania get failing grades
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Pennsylvania was one of 41 states to receive a failing grade for inadequately funding programs to help people stop or control their tobacco addictions in 2012, according to the American Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control" report released Wednesday.
The report, which tracks progress on tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, also gave Pennsylvania an "F" grade for insurance coverage of stop-smoking programs, and "C" grades in the smoke-free air and cigarette tax categories.
The Lung Association's 11th annual report put the state's adult smoking rate at 22.3 percent of the population in 2012, up from the 20.2 percent in 2011. The high school smoking rate was 18.6 percent in 2012, about the same as the year before.
"Pennsylvania must make it a priority to invest in programs that keep kids off tobacco and to help smokers quit," said Deb Brown, president and CEO of the Lung Association's Mid-Atlantic region, including Pennsylvania. "That starts with increasing Pennsylvania's current level of tobacco prevention and cessation funding."
According to a Lung Association news release that accompanied the report, Pennsylvania and many other states are neglecting to properly invest annual tobacco settlement funds and tobacco taxes in proven programs that reduce smoking and tobacco-related disease. Although Pennsylvania receives $1.4 billion a year in tobacco-related revenue, its spending on tobacco prevention and quit-smoking programs is $14. 2 million, an increase over the 2011 spending levels but just 11 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
Tobacco causes an estimated 20,025 deaths in Pennsylvania annually, the Lung Association said, and costs the state's economy $9.4 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.
First Published January 17, 2013 12:00 am