Report: New Mexico earns failing grade for tobacco prevention

Report: New Mexico earns failing grade for tobacco prevention

The American Lung Association issued a report Wednesday, finding New Mexico could do more to prevent tobacco use and save lives.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new report from the American Lung Association shows New Mexico isn’t doing enough when it comes to preventing tobacco use.

The report also shows our state can do more when it comes to tobacco prevention.

“When it comes to tobacco prevention and control program funding, the state receives an F. Despite receiving $135 million from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes, New Mexico only funds tobacco control efforts at 23.5% of the level that the CDC recommends,” said JoAnna Strother of the American Lung Association.

They also describe tobacco use as the number one preventable cause of disease and death in New Mexico and the U.S.

The report calls on the state to use more of its funding toward tobacco use and prevention programs. It also says the state comes up short when it comes to ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

New Mexico got a D when it came to the state tobacco tax rate.

“We also know that tobacco taxes are another way that we call a win-win-win for the state. So what it does, when we raise tobacco taxes, it helps adults to quit and helps youth to not start or initiate tobacco products,” Strother said.

The report also highlights how New Mexico teens are vaping more.

“In fact, they are vaping at a 37% rate which is actually higher than our neighboring states and it’s the highest in the southwest,” Strother said.

It’s not all bad news, though. New Mexico gets an A when it comes to coverage access and services to quit tobacco.

We also get a B when it comes to smoke-free workplace laws. For the first time, e-cigarettes and tobacco products are banned from public schools because of a new state law.

“We understand that with a lot of the students, they’re using the e-cigarettes as a mechanism and as a vehicle to not only use the e-liquid but also use marijuana, fentanyl and other hard drugs within that. So with that, we’re hoping to decrease the use of not only nicotine use but also other substances on campus,” said Esther Hoang, the program manager of the New Mexico Department of Health’s Nicotine Use Prevention and Control.

Another resource New Mexico residents have is a quit smoking hotline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). The hotline helps people quit smoking with things like patches or gum.

The report also calls on the Biden administration to end the sale of menthol cigarettes. It also calls for banning flavored cigars as those are most popular among young people.

To read the full report, click here.