More tobacco control efforts recommended at state, local level

The CDC is pushing states to raise cigarette taxes and spend more on anti-tobacco marketing and Medicaid smoking cessation services.

By — Posted May 14, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

States should do more to drive down smoking rates, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that ranked state smoking policies to promote harsher anti-tobacco actions.

"This is our first-ever report on state-specific tobacco-control measures," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. "It is supporting state and local public health efforts, recognizing the good, shedding light on the bad and lauding improvements."

Adult smoking rates have dropped by half since 1965, but about 20% of U.S. adults still smoke.

"The decline in smoking rates has stalled," Dr. Frieden said during an April news briefing at the Assn. of Health Care Journalists' annual meeting in Chicago. "It was dropping steadily until five or six years ago. We need to resume that decline."

States and local health agencies can help reduce smoking rates, Dr. Frieden said. During his tenure as commissioner of the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, the number of New Yorkers who smoked dropped by 350,000. The teen smoking rate was cut in half after enactment of a combined state and local tax rate of $4.25 a pack, the highest in the nation.

By contrast, South Carolina smokers pay the nation's lowest cigarette taxes -- seven cents a pack, according to the CDC report. Twenty-eight states lack bans on smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, and only seven state Medicaid plans cover all smoking-cessation medications and counseling. (See clarification)

Meanwhile, no state spends the CDC-recommended amount on anti-tobacco measures such as smoking cessation, the report said. Maine ranks first on that measure, while Tennessee ranks last.

The report also ranks states on how much they spend on anti-smoking efforts, with Utah ranking first and Texas finishing last.

West Virginia's 26.5% adult-smoking rate tops the nation, while California has the lowest smoking rate at 14%.

The "Tobacco Control State Highlights 2010" report is available online (link).

Graphics highlighting the report's state-by-state findings can be shared on any website.

"Tobacco control is within our reach," Dr. Frieden said. "Our challenge is to take the steps to reach it, not just at the federal and state level but at the local level."

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story