LOCAL NEWS

‘State of Tobacco Control’ report shows Utah has lowest adult smoking rate in the country

Jan 24, 2024, 11:08 AM | Updated: 1:37 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — On Wednesday, the American Lung Association released its annual report looking at tobacco use.

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal government policies as well as steps being taken to minimize tobacco usage.

In the 2024 report, Utah saw a variety of grades on their report card that ranged from A to F.

Nick Torres, advocacy director with the American Lung Association, said Utah is going strong in certain areas.

“Utah is the state with the lowest adult smoking rate in the country, so that’s something we should continue to celebrate,” Torres said.

There is still much room for improvement.

According to the American Lung Association in Utah, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Utah and across the country.

Each year, 1,340 Utahns are dying from tobacco use.

“Menthol is also tied to lower successful rates of quitting and higher rates of addiction,” Torres said.

The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives.

In the 2024 report, Utah made the grade with an “A” in Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs.

The state made a “B” in Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws.

Utah took home a “C” in Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco.

Finally, the state rounded out with two “F’s” in the Level of State Tobacco Taxes and Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products.

The state’s goals to bring up those lower grades include: upping the cigarette tax across all tobacco products and eliminating the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

“By raising Utah’s tobacco tax by a dollar, it would put it among the top 15 or so states in the country again. Right now, we’re falling, I think, somewhere around the middle of the pack. We’re below average, and so a dollar would put us back up to among the leaders,” Torres said.

To help stop the sale of flavored tobacco products, The American Lung Association is calling on the federal government.

“We know that these policies have to be a partnership between the federal government, state governments, even local governments. The federal government does play an enormous role in eliminating the sale of flavored products,” Torres said.

The American Lung Association in Utah said menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars draw kids in to start smoking and make it harder for people to quit.

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‘State of Tobacco Control’ report shows Utah has lowest adult smoking rate in the country