Did you know that according to the recently released 21st edition of the American Lung Association (ALA), Pennsylvania ranks among the worst states in terms of tobacco prevention and control? “Status of Tobacco Control” Report?
In fact, Pennsylvania received mostly low grades in the report, but showed improvement in access to cessation services, moving from an “F” to a “D” grade.
The report evaluates state and federal tobacco eradication policies and recommends tobacco control laws and policies that have been proven to be effective to save lives.
Yes, folks, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America, killing 22,010 Pennsylvania residents each year.
Another look at the analysis shows:
– 26.7% of high school students use a tobacco product,
– Though Pennsylvania has received millions upon millions of dollars in tobacco compensation payments and tobacco taxes over the years, Pennsylvania funds tobacco control efforts at only 12.8% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
– Smokers will love it: The report states that Pennsylvania hasn’t increased its tobacco tax since 2016, but should increase its tax by at least $1 per pack and align tax rates on all tobacco products.
In addition, the reports recommend that Pennsylvania maintain state funding for tobacco prevention and smoking cessation programs. “especially given the ongoing youth epidemic.”
In the end, the government cannot stop people from smoking.
Those who have smoked and quit know how difficult (and rewarding) it is.
Tobacco is addictive.
Very very addicting.
For many, quitting will only happen when faced with a life-threatening illness.
Or they just can’t afford to buy cigarettes.
Right now, a pack of (real) Marlboro cigarettes costs between $9 and $11 in Pennsylvania.
In earnest. Sure, there are generic brands for $7. (We found that Americans spend an average of $6.43 on a pack of cigarettes.)
The Pennsylvania tax on a 20-pack of cigarettes is $2.60 and 55 to 66 cents per ounce of snuff (chew).
ALA estimates that 1,481,700 Pennsylvanians smoke, 24.4% of high school students use e-cigarettes, while 31.4% of Keystone state cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.
Throw in COVID — a respiratory disease — and it’s an even stronger recipe for death.
It’s time to stop, no matter the cost.
There is a much higher price to pay.