Indiana receives failing grade on tobacco report card

The following is a prepared release from the American Lung Association, rating Indiana’s efforts to reduce tobacco use.

Indiana made little progress this past year in reducing tobacco caused death and disease, according to the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014” report. The report finds that Indiana and our nation must renew their commitment to eliminate tobacco-caused death and disease.

“Despite great strides in reducing smoking rates in America, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S.,” said Lindsay Grace, Manager of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Indiana. “We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of Americans of their health and future. We cannot afford another 50 years of tobacco use.”

The Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014” tracks yearly progress on key tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, assigning grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.

Indiana received the following grades for 2013:
Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding: F
Cigarette Tax: D
Smoke-free Air: C
Cessation Coverage: F

“Indiana has the unfortunate distinction of failing to make progress in the fight against tobacco use in 2013, and protect its citizens from tobacco-caused diseases like lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of both men and women in Indiana. Meanwhile Big Tobacco continued to rob our health and wealth with clever new tactics to lure new youth smokers,” Grace said.

Tobacco causes an estimated 9,728 deaths in Indiana annually and costs the state’s economy $4,804,232,000 in healthcare costs and lost productivity, a tremendous burden that our state can ill afford.

For Indiana, 2013 was another missed opportunity to put in place proven policies to reduce tobacco use and save lives, including smokefree workplace laws, higher tobacco taxes and tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs.

Priorities that must be addressed to improve Indiana’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades in 2014 include:
High and equitable taxes on all tobacco products
Higher funding for Indiana’s Tobacco Prevention program

“Leaders in Indianapolis must step up to provide smokers with the support they need to quit and adequately fund prevention programs that help keep our kids off tobacco,” Grace said.

The 2014 report highlights the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 Surgeon General’s report that linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases for the first time.

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