Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We Failed, Again...

Yesterday the American Lung Association released their State of Tobacco Report in which Indiana got a mostly failing grade for our tobacco prevention efforts.

We got an 'F' for Tobacco Control Prevention and Spending because Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (ITPC) is only funded at $11,896,858, no where near the CDC recommended level of $78,800,000. This amount is even down from the previous years amount of $15,921,124.

We also got an 'F' for Smokefree Air because only a small number of places are covered by smoke free air laws, and an even smaller number of bars are smoke free. Increasingly we are being left behind by other states going smoke free, North Carolina just went smoke free at the new year and our neighboring state Michigan will go smoke free on May 1st.

Indiana got a 'D' for Cigarette Taxes, our tax is only at 99.5 cents, the national average is $1.36. In this current economy many states are looking to raise cigarette taxes as a way to supplement their state budgets, it is only a matter of time before the national average will go up again further leaving us behind.

Lastly we got a 'C' for Tobacco Cessation Coverage, because we do have a statewide cessation quitline and cessation services are covered within Medicaid and state employee insurance programs. Unfortunately cessation is not mandated within private insurance and the quitline is not fully funded to allow every individual who needs to quit smoking the proper help needed.

Indiana still has a long way to go before we can receive a passing grade, increasingly we are being left behind by other states, which is why we are now number 2 in the nation for adult smokers. Of the 10 states with the highest smoking rates in the nation, none of them have a smoke free air law.

We can reverse this cycle of loosing our loved ones to the effects of tobacco by fully funding ITPC, increasing our cigarette tax, passing a strong statewide smoke free air law and by fully funding the state quitline. Hopefully these goals will be met in the near future before another child picks up a daily tobacco habit.

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