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Urgent Action Is Needed to Protect All Americans from the Harms of Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke

Released this week, our “State of Tobacco Control” 2018 report assigns grades to states and federal government on key policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The report also notes that adult and youth cigarette smoking rates are at historically low levels. However, not everyone in America has benefited equally from this decline. When looking more closely at the data, many Americans continue to struggle with tobacco and nicotine addiction. Unfortunately, these groups are at greatest risk for tobacco-related death and disease and it’s our job to do everything we can to help them.

Everyone deserves the chance to live a full and healthy life. We must do more to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke among all Americans to truly put an end to the tobacco epidemic.

Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. More than one in five high school students still use tobacco products, setting them up for a lifetime of addiction.

The American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” 2018 shows the progress and failures of the states and the federal government to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The report assigns grades based on whether state and federal laws protect Americans from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. We encourage you to check out the report, and see if your state made the grade.

How Can I Help?

You can help support the public policies proven to protect the health of our nation’s children and prevent kids from starting to smoke. Learn more about the most pressing tobacco control issues in your state by visiting And most importantly, take action. Let the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services know that he must continue the efforts to fight tobacco use disparities, so everyone can reach their potential and everyone can be protected from tobacco-caused death and disease. Putting in place the proven effective laws and policies called for in our “State of Tobacco Control” report will protect all of us from the harms of tobacco.

We sincerely thank you for your support.

Harold P. Wimmer
National President and CEO
American Lung Association