PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Pennsylvania gets an “F” grade from the American Lung Association in spending to reduce smoking and e-cigarette use. The State of Tobacco Control Report says the state fails in funding for tobacco prevention, the level of tobacco taxes, and access to services to quit tobacco. Pennsylvania gets a “D” for the strength of its smoke free workplace laws.
Lung Association Advocacy Director Sarah Lawver says the state allocated $15.5 million dollars for tobacco prevention and control last year. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the state spend $140 million.
“Covering quit smoking treatments is Pennsylvania is the correct and smart choice,” said Lawver. “Not only will it help tobacco users quit and save lives, but it will also cut healthcare costs – a win win for the health of Pennsylvania residents and the economy.”
The report is critical of lawmakers for using Tobacco Settlement funds to help cover a state budget shortfall and not on cessation programs.
While adult and teen smoking rates have held steady in Pennsylvania in recent years, e-cigarette rates have skyrocketed 78 percent among high school students from 2017 to 2018 according to the CDC.