Health & Science

Texas Is Failing To Control Tobacco Use, Says American Lung Association

The group calls for more funding and raising the age of sale to 21.

Texas received all “F” grades in the American Lung Association’s latest tobacco control report.

The group is calling on the Texas legislature to restore funding cut from tobacco use prevention programs in 2017, in addition to raising the age of sale from 18 to 21 and passing a smoke-free air law.

“In Texas, our smoking rates remains at 15.7%. Tobacco use is a serious and deadly addiction and we need to invest in the proven measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” American Lung Association Advocacy Director JoAnna Strother said in a press release.

Texas differs from most states most notably in its restrictions on where people can smoke and how much it spends on smoking prevention services. Currently, Texas has no state-level restrictions on public smoking except in schools, childcare facilities, and recreational/cultural facilities. 

With e-cigarettes gaining popularity among teenagers and young adults — a 78 percent increase in usage from 2017 to 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the American Lung Association stresses the need for continued funding of prevention programs. 

In funding smoking cessation programs and services, Texas spends $0.60 per smoker while the median investment among all states in the country is $2.21, according to the group.

Still, other states share failing grades in the same categories as Texas. Most states received failing grades for funding levels of tobacco prevention programs, and only a handful of states meet the American Lung Association’s goals of raising the age of sale to 21. Similarly, most states do not tax tobacco to levels preferred by the group, with no state receiving an ‘A’ rating on that metric.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

Senior Producer

Davis Land is a senior producer at Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a graduate...

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