RICHMOND, Va. – A new report from the American Lung Association gives Virginia failing grades across the board in regards to how we address tobacco-related death and disease.
This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report from the American Lung Association grades federal and state efforts to reduce tobacco use and calls for meaningful policies that will prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. The report finds that Virginia earned failing grades on reducing and preventing tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.
“State of Tobacco Control” 2021 grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. Virginia received the following grades:
1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade F
3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F
5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products - Grade F
“There’s a lot of opportunity right now for the Virginia legislature and policymakers to really make a difference and even if they just take one particular issue and start at that and then work their way through the other issues they could really develop a very comprehensive approach to reducing death and disability from tobacco use,” said Deborah Brown with the American Lung Association.
“In Virginia, our adult smoking rates are 14% and our high school tobacco use rates are 22.5%. The surge in youth vaping combined with the fact that smoking increases the chance of severe COVID-19 symptoms, make it more important than ever for Virginia to implement the proven measures outlined in ‘State of Tobacco Control’ to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said American Lung Association Director of Advocacy Aleks Casper.