The American Lung Association gives Ohio top marks for providing residents with a smoke-free environment but it says the Buckeye State is failing with other tobacco policies.
The group released its annual State of Tobacco Control report card Wednesday, giving Ohio an A, D and three Fs.
“Nationwide, smoking rates have continued to decline to historically low levels, yet tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease killing over 480,000 Americans each year,” American Lung Association in Ohio Director of Advocacy Ken Fletcher said in a prepared statement. “Tobacco use is a serious addiction, and the fact that 22.5 percent of Ohio residents are current smokers highlights how much work remains to be done in our communities to prevent and reduce tobacco use.”
The Lung Association gave Ohio an A for its strength of smoke-free workplace laws; a D for coverage and access to services to quit using tobacco; and Fs for funding for state tobacco prevention programs, state tobacco taxes and the minimum age to buy tobacco products.
The group wants the state to increase the tobacco tax by at least $1 a pack and raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.
“We know how to reduce tobacco use in this country,” Fletcher said. “‘State of Tobacco Control’ looks at proven methods to save lives and protect the health of all Americans. Ohio’s elected officials must act to implement these proven policies, which will prevent tobacco-caused death and disease, and help keep our lungs healthy.”