Louisiana Failing in Efforts to Reduce Tobacco Use

Local News

The American Lung Association’s latest “State of Tobacco Control” report has found that in 2016 Louisiana failed to do enough to implement proven-effective policies that would save lives. The 15th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and shows that most states and the federal government have earned poor grades.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in our nation, and 21.9 percent of Louisiana residents currently smoke,” said Martha C. Bogdan, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Southeast. “We know what works when it comes to preventing and reducing tobacco use. What we need is for Louisiana policymakers to implement the policies and programs called for in the ‘State of Tobacco Control’ that would save lives and protect kids from a lifetime of addiction.”

The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failures of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use, and the report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous health toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. This year, the report has also added a new grade on efforts to increase the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21.

Louisiana’s poor grades this year show that much more must be done by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven-effective policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:

– Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F

– Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B

– Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F

– Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F

– Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade F

The American Lung Association in Louisiana calls on elected officials to protect their workers and residents from exposure to secondhand smoke by strengthening their statewide smokefree workplace law to include all workplaces and public places, including bars and gaming establishments.

While 28 states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed comprehensive smokefree workplace laws, unfortunately no state passed a comprehensive law in 2016, and only one state has passed a comprehensive smokefree law since 2011. Louisiana is one of 22 states that has yet to fully protect its citizens from secondhand smoke.

“It’s no secret how to reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Bogdan. “We urge Louisiana’s elected officials to implement policies that will save lives and prevent tobacco-caused death and disease.”

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