Iowa got mostly poor or failing grades on a new report card from the American Lung Association. In the tenth annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, the agency graded all 50 states on four proven policies to save lives and cut health care costs. Lung Association spokeswoman Katie Lorenz says Iowa got one “A,” one “D,” and flunked the other two categories.
“Tobacco prevention and control funding was slashed by 55%,” Lorenz says. “What we’re asking is that in order to improve that grade, at minimum, we restore funding levels to 2011 which was about 7.39-million.” Iowa’s now spending a little over three-million dollars on tobacco prevention and control while she says federal guidelines call for spending more than 36-million.
Lorenz says, “The CDC recommends a certain level in order to help smokers quit and make sure that children don’t start, the state needs to be funding at that level.” The report also gives Iowa an “F” for its smoking cessation programs, as the state offers no free aids like nicotine gum, patches or lozenges.
Iowa also rated a “D” for its cigarette tax of a dollar-36 per pack. Lorenz says if that tax was even a dollar higher, it would keep thousands more teens from starting to smoke while more adults would quit. “Iowans can certainly be proud of their ‘A’ for smokefree air, and that’s prohibiting all smoking in public and in workplaces,” she says.
“We do hope that in the future to get an A+ or maybe to do a little bit better, that we stop exempting the casinos and make those smokefree workplaces as well.” The full report is on-line with state-by-state breakdowns.
“Your listeners can visit www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org,” she says. “There’s a section where they can take action and send a letter to their governor or to their legislators and say, ‘We understand it’s important to prevent tobacco use in our state and we want to do our part to make that happen.'”
Overall, six states received four failing grades: Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Only four states got all passing grades: Delaware, Hawaii, Maine and Oklahoma. No state received straight A’s.