New Report: Hawai‘i Earns Mixed Grades for Tobacco Control Policies; Experts Recommend Focus on Restricting Flavored Tobacco Products
American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control” report releases Hawai‘i grades for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco.
News Release from American Lung Association, Honolulu, HI, January 24, 2024
Today, the American Lung Association released the 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that Hawai‘i received two A’s, one B, one C, and an F for various efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year’s report noted the need for Hawai‘i policymakers to focus on once-and-for-all restrict all forms of flavored tobacco products in the state.
The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives.
“Tobacco has continued to be the leading cause of death in Hawai‘i and across the country and takes the lives of 1,420 Hawaiʻi residents each year. Many of those through deaths attributed to lung cancer. The best thing we can do for the health of the state and is to end our addition to tobacco products,” said Pedro Haro, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Hawai‘i. “This will be the 10th year that we are working with state policymakers to focus on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. We know that our keiki are attracted to flavored e-cigarettes, and that menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in our local communities, including Filipino and Native Hawaiian youth. Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, is part of a comprehensive approach to end youth vaping, but will address health disparities.”
The report notes that part of a comprehensive approach to ending youth vaping is the funding of community-based quit tobacco programs for youth. “The state needs to increase its investment in tobacco programs to help already addicted youth quit tobacco through programs that are nested in the community, such as schools, doctors’ offices, and after school programs, along with the phone and internet help that is already available” added Haro. The state received a C grade in Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding.
The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2024 report, Hawaiʻi received the following grades:
- Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade C*
- Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
- Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade B
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade A
- Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F
*State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.
Federal Grades Overview
This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
The 2024 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:
- Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
- Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
- Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
- Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade: A
- Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete*
*FDA remains grossly overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.”
The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.
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