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Monday, June 17, 2024

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NJ Earns Poor Grades in Lung Association’s ‘State of Tobacco Control’ Report

Cigarette Smoker - File Photo.jpg

By Press Release

TRENTON – Even amid the pandemic, tobacco use remains a serious public health threat. In addition to tobacco-related death and disease, smoking also increases the risk of the most severe impacts of Covid, making ending tobacco use more important than ever.  

According to a release, 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 New Jersey earned failing grades on its efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. 

Tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 480,000 lives every year. Much like Covid, tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure disproportionately impacts certain communities, including communities of color, LGTBQ+ Americans, and persons of lower income. To address this critical public health threat, “State of Tobacco Control” outlines solutions to close this gap and provides a roadmap for the federal and state policies needed to prevent and reduce tobacco use. 

The 19th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that while New Jersey has taken significant steps to reduce tobacco use, including being the first in the nation to sign a law prohibiting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and advancing public health during the pandemic by reopening casinos in Atlantic City smokefree, elected officials should do more to save lives in 2021.  

To ensure all New Jersey residents benefit from reductions in tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, the American Lung Association urges New Jersey to amend the flavored tobacco prohibition law to include all flavored products, including mint and menthol, and to pass a law ensuring the Atlantic City casinos remain smokefree. 

“In New Jersey, our adult smoking rates are 13.1%, and our youth e-cigarette rate is 27.6%. 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 New Jersey to implement the proven measures outlined in ‘State of Tobacco Control’ to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” stated American Lung Association National AVP, State Public Policy Michael Seilback. 

“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. New Jersey received the following grades: 

1.       Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F 

2.       Strength of Smoke-free Workplace Laws – Grade A 

3.       Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F 

4.       Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade D 

5.       New: Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade D    

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