January 6, 2004 New York While there were bright spots in 2003, the American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2003 report card clearly shows that most states are not taking the necessary measures to protect children and adults from the deadly effects of tobacco smoke. The American Lung Association looked at laws on smoking in the workplace, cigarette taxes, youth access to tobacco and funding of smoking prevention programs. Sadly, most states failed to make the grade, and the fact remains that more than 440,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses each year.
"How many more preventable deaths must occur and how many more children must become addicted to cigarettes before we say enough?" asked John K. Kirkwood, CEO and president of the American Lung Association. "This report highlights that tough laws save lives and protect our children. From Maine to California, we have the data to prove that funding comprehensive prevention programs, raising cigarette taxes, providing smokefree air and preventing the sale of cigarettes to children can dramatically reduce tobacco use and disease. The American Lung Association calls on governors and legislatures stand up for public health, stand up for our children and support the solution."
January 11 marks 40 years since the first U.S. Surgeon General's report linked smoking with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, lung cancer and other diseases, and the nation has made many gains in tobacco control. But the fight is not over. The American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2003 report card found:
38 states and the District of Columbia received an "F" in funding tobacco prevention and control programs;
35 states and the District of Columbia received an "F" in smokefree air laws;
13 states received an "F" in tobacco taxes; and
23 states received an "F" in laws limiting youth access to tobacco.
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