Lung Association Report Finds Good News, Bad News as States Enact Lung Association Report Finds Good News, Bad News as States Enact
WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Last year was the most active year in history for enactment of state tobacco-control laws, according to a report by the American Lung Association.
"There were 113 new tobacco-related laws adopted by 43 states, spelling both good news and bad news for the public's health," said John R. Garrison, CEO of the American Lung Association.
"Unfortunately, Big Tobacco continues to wield undue influence in statehouses around the country."
The report, 2000 State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues, is the only up-to-date, comprehensive guide to state tobacco control
laws and has been published annually since 1988.
The 2000 report was produced by the American Lung Association with support from the American Legacy Foundation.
"We know what works to reduce tobacco use, what we need is the political will to make it happen," said Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of American Legacy Foundation. "The American Legacy Foundation is dedicated to collaborating with tobacco control leaders to ensure the protection of public health by raising the profile of successful legislative action in states and
Many of the new laws focus on limiting youth access to tobacco products, including a troublesome trend toward punishing young victims of tobacco industry manipulation, rather than the
perpetrators -- the people who sell them the tobacco.
In assessing state tobacco laws over the past decade, the Lung Association found the following trends:
-- In 2000, a total of 49 states and the District of Columbia in some way restricted smoking in public places (Alabama was the exception), compared to 42 states with such restrictions in 1991.
-- Between 1991 and 2000, the average state cigarette excise tax nearly doubled -- from an average of 24 cents per pack in 1991 to 42 cents per pack in 2000. In 1991, the highest tax was 47 cents (Hawaii) and the lowest was 2 1/2 cents (Virginia). In 2000, the highest tax was $1.11 (New York) and the lowest was still 2-1/2 cents (Virginia). Three states (Alaska, Hawaii and New
York) now have taxes of one dollar or more.
Another legislative focus during 2000 was the allocation of funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the states and the tobacco companies.
"Of the 44 states that have decided how to spend their settlement dollars, only a handful have allocated even the minimum amount of funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention for comprehensive tobacco use control and prevention," said Garrison.
"As a result, tobacco companies are spending 10 times more to market their products than all 50 states combined are spending on tobacco prevention and cessation."