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Iowa's Tobacco Control Report Card Grades Mixed

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 General News J E 4
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 12 Iowa's tobacco control policies earned mixed grades, with low marks for Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending (F) and Cessation Coverage (F) and average to high marks for Cigarette Tax (C) and Smokefree Air (A) in the American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control 2009 report released today.

"Iowa leaders have made significant progress in the last few years by increasing the cigarette tax and protecting Iowans from secondhand smoke exposure, but our work is not done," said Micki Sandquist, Executive Director.

State of Tobacco Control 2009 grades states and the District of Columbia on smokefree air laws; cigarette tax rates; tobacco prevention and control program funding; and coverage of cessation treatments and services, designed to help smokers quit.

To calculate grades published in State of Tobacco Control 2009, the American Lung Association compared policies against targets based on the most current, recognized scientific criteria for effective tobacco control, or policies that are the best in the nation.

"Tobacco-related illness remains the number-one preventable cause of death in the U.S. and is responsible for an estimated 4,442 deaths in Iowa," added Sandquist. "We cannot pull funding and halt the tremendous progress we have made."

Tobacco-related illness kills more than 393,000 Americans each year and costs our nation a staggering $193 billion annually. Another 50,000 Americans die from exposure to secondhand smoke. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The tobacco epidemic persists. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 46 million adults in the U.S. were smoking, according to the most recent (2008) survey data, and that the nation's "progress in ending the tobacco epidemic" had halted. The findings "indicate an alarming trend," the CDC warned in November, "because smoking is the leading preventable cause of death."

Six states -- Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia -- received all "F's." No state earned straight "A's" in State of Tobacco Control 2009.

Editor's Note: Complete report including federal and state grades available at: www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org.

SOURCE American Lung Association of Iowa
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