The latest and the 14th annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report by the American Lung Association (ALA) shows that Rhode Island (RI) received mixed results on tobacco control policies in 2015. The report also showed that most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease. Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, said on one side we are celebrating the success of tobacco control policies in Rhode Island, but on the other hand the report showed the reality that 33% of young people are using tobacco products like e-cigarettes and little cigars at an all-time high.
Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association, said that it is vital for the Rhode Island to take necessary action to reduce all tobacco use, the main cause of preventable death and disease in our nation. The grades given by the tobacco control policies have been shown below:
• Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – Grade F
• Tobacco Taxes - Grade B
• Smokefree Air - Grade A
• Access to Cessation Services - Grade D
Among the steps the American Lung Association of the Northeast can take to control increasing use of tobacco and cigarettes by young students include increasing the prices of cheap, flavored cigars and dedicate a portion of the additional tax revenue to fund the RI Tobacco Control Program. Also, to add e-cigarettes to Rhode Island's smoke free laws and raise the minimum sale age for tobacco products to 21. High tobacco prices, smoke free environments, and robust tobacco control programs are the proven trifecta to lower smoking rates and save lives. And new data shows that increasing the age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21 will further lower smoking rates and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco. Karina Holyoak Wood, Director of Health Education and Public Policy in Rhode Island, said the ‘State of Tobacco Control’ Report Card for 2016 shows that Rhode Island’s elected officials can and must do more to save lives.