Wisconsin receives mostly failing grades for policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use
Lung Association report reveals best and worst states for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco in Wisconsin Wisconsin received mostly failing grades for policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, according to the American Lung Association’s 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today.
The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. This is critical, as tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America and takes the lives of 7,850 Wisconsin residents each year.
“Wisconsin lags behind when it comes to tobacco control policies, and as a result, (and despite reductions over the past decades) we still have higher than average adult smoking rates at 13.3%, and 22.2% of high school students use a tobacco product,” said Molly Collins, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “This gives us an important opportunity to improve the health of our state through proven policies, such as increasing tobacco prevention and control program funding.
The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2023 report, Wisconsin received the following grades: 1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F 2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A 3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade D 4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F 5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F This year’s report noted the need for Wisconsin policymakers to focus on increasing funding for tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs in the state budget. An investment in prevention is especially important given the ongoing youth vaping epidemic. Despite receiving $721 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, Wisconsin only funds tobacco control efforts at 12% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Lung Association believes increased funds should be used to support the health of our communities, and to prevent tobacco use and help people quit, and not switch to e-cigarettes. These programs are also critical for helping to end tobacco- related health disparities.
To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.