The federal government gets “mostly failing grades for its tobacco prevention and reduction efforts,” according to a new report from the American Lung Association.
The 20th annual “State of Tobacco Control” calls for an end to flavored tobacco manufacturing, saying flavored tobacco products and e-cigarettes undermine progress made in tobacco control policy.
The 2022 State of Tobacco Control gave the federal government the following ratings:
- D to regulate tobacco products
- D for Federal Coverage for Quit Smoking Treatments
- F for the level of federal tobacco taxes
- A for media campaigns to prevent and reduce smoking
- And an incomplete note to raise the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21
“In 2022, the country must redouble its efforts to adopt the proven policies called for in the ‘State of Tobacco Control‘ to help end smoking. We cannot afford to wait another 20 years and enable another generation to suffer from tobacco-causing addiction, disease and death. This will require a new commitment at the federal, state and local levels to save lives,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.
The reports urge the FDA to regulate synthetic nicotine as a drug, warning that e-cigarette companies are exploiting synthetic nicotine as an “attempt to evade tobacco control law.”
Overall adult smoking has declined, according to the report, but smoking remains high among Native Americans, Alaska Natives and lesbian, gay and bisexual adults.
Additionally, menthol cigarettes are a “key contributor to tobacco-related death and disease in black communities.”
The report also notes that cigarette sales increased during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, but it is unclear whether this “signals higher smoking rates among adults or whether current smokers are smoking more cigarettes. “.
This year, the Lung Association is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to quickly finalize proposals introduced in April 2021 that would remove flavored cigars and menthol from the market by April 2022.
They also urge the government to limit health plans that are not required to cover treatment to help people quit smoking and call on Congress to pass the ‘COVID-19 Quitting Act’ . This legislation would give all Medicaid enrollees access to a smoking cessation benefit.