The state of Vermont received a failing grade in two key tobacco policies as part of the American Lung Association’s annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report.
“The tobacco epidemic has not been solved,” said Lance Boucher, with the American Lung Association. “Even though you might not see it in your social circle.”
Boucher deals with state public policy for the association. He says Vermont is falling short in funding prevention programs. The CDC recommends the state spend $8.4 million annually.
“Right now, the program falls in the middle of that, about 44% funding,” he said. “So we are calling for revenue more funding to be contributed into the tobacco control program.”
The other category Vermont received an F, the sale of flavored tobacco products. The association wants to see it all removed from Vermont’s marketplace. During the 2020 legislative session, many health leaders pushed to eliminate such products including the Vermont chapter of the American Heart Association.
According to Boucher, although Vermont’s smoking age was raised from 18 to 21 in 2019, 28% of high schoolers in the state use tobacco.
“We were doing a great job, we had really drove down the use of cigarettes among Vermont youth as well as adults,” he said. “However, these new products have started to erase those gains and seeing 1 in 4 youth smoking, we have a lot of work to do.”
Vermont’s smoke-free workplace regulations got an “A”; and a “B” went to state taxation levels and for polices that help Vermonters quit tobacco.