Pennsylvania gets failing grades in 'State of Tobacco Control' report

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania does not fare well in the American Lung Association's most recent "State of Tobacco Control" report. 

According to the report, the American Lung Association gave Pennsylvania F grades when it comes to tobacco taxes as well as smoking cessation and prevention programs. 

But Sarah Lawver, the group's director of advocacy, says what was most shocking about this year's findings was how bad the country's vaping epidemic had become in 2019.

"In total, high school e-cigarette use has skyrocketed by 135% over just the past two years," Lawver said. 

She says raising the federal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 is a good start, but more needs to be done, including funding marketing campaigns to explain some of the common misconceptions related to some of the newer tobacco products.

"E-cigarettes are not just harmless vapor and flavorings, they contain a very addictive amount of nicotine and other chemicals which are not safe to inhale," she added. 

She says funding for anti-tobacco programs comes from a variety of sources.

"But what we're asking legislators to do is to preserve funding that comes from the master settlement agreement to the tobacco settlement fund for these programs," she said.