PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon took some steps forward to reduce tobacco use in some areas, but fell short in adequately funding prevention programs to protect children and curb tobacco-related disease in 2013, the American Lung Association said in a report issued Wednesday.
Those were the findings of the American Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control 2014" report.
Fifty years since the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was issued on January 11, 1964, the Lung Association's new report finds that Oregon and our nation as a whole must renew its commitment to eliminate tobacco-caused death and disease.
"Despite great strides in reducing smoking rates in America, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S., said Carrie Nyssen, Regional Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific.
"We must renew our commitment to stopping tobacco from robbing another generation of Americans of their health and future. We cannot afford another 50 years of tobacco use," Nyssen urged.
The Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control 2014," its 12th annual report, tracks yearly progress on key tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, assigning grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. The 2014 report highlights the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 Surgeon General's report that linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases for the first time.
Oregon received the following grades for 2013.
F Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding
A Smokefree Air
D Cigarette Tax
F Cessation Coverage
"Oregon's report card was decidedly mixed in the fight against tobacco use in 2013. We made some progress in protecting our citizens from tobacco-caused diseases like lung cancer and COPD by providing additional funding for our state tobacco program," said Nyssen. "But there is still much more we can do."
Tobacco causes nearly 5000 deaths in Oregon annually and costs the state's economy $2 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity, a tremendous burden that our state can ill afford.
Priorities that must be addressed to improve Oregon's "State of Tobacco Control" grades in 2014 include:
- Dedicating more money for our state's successful tobacco prevention program
- Increasing Oregon's cigarette tax
"High tobacco taxes and funding tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs at recommended levels have been proven to reduce tobacco use. All that is missing in Oregon is the political will from our elected officials," said Nyssen.
Meanwhile, the tobacco industry continued its ruthless pursuit of addicting new users and keeping current users from quitting in 2013. This included efforts at the federal and state levels to exempt their products from meaningful public health protections.
The three largest cigarette manufacturers — Altria, Reynolds American, and Lorillard — continued their aggressive expansion into tobacco products other than cigarettes in 2013. As cigarette use continues to gradually decline, these companies continue to maintain their stranglehold on America's youth and reap profits from smokeless tobacco, cigars and now e-cigarettes.
"I urge everyone in Oregon to join the American Lung Association in Oregon and renew their commitment to preventing another 50 years of tobacco caused death and disease," said Nyssen.