‘State of Tobacco Control’ report rates NM unfavorably in several areas

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The American Lung Association recently released its “State of Tobacco Control” report and it was found New Mexico has some work to do.

The association scored state and federal policies to evaluate if they’re doing enough to prevent death and disease caused by tobacco use. They found it remains the leading cause of preventable death in the state, with around 3,000 deaths each year.

The association’s scorecard gave New Mexico two “F”s. One for how much money we spend on tobacco prevention programs. The other for not ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

The state received a “D” for the level of state taxes on tobacco products. We did receive a “B” for smoke-free workplace laws and access to services to quit tobacco.

In comparison, the U.S. scored an “A” for tobacco prevention programs but a “D’ for treatments to help people quit smoking. The U.S. also scored a “C” for the regulation of tobacco products and an “F” for tobacco tax.

So what can New Mexico do to turn its grades into “A”s? The American Lung Association is calling for state health leaders to do three things:

  1. Give more money to the state’s tobacco prevention and control program
  2. Increase excise taxes on tobacco products by $1 per pack or more
  3. Remove statewide preemption for tobacco product sales laws

The full report is available on the American Lung Association website by clicking here.

The report also warns health risks can be posed by products such as cigars and chewing tobacco, not just cigarettes and secondhand smoke.