HealthDay News — Although progress has been made in reducing tobacco use, new tobacco products are threatening this progress, according to the “State of Tobacco Control” report published by the American Lung Association.
The report examined state and federal actions taken to eliminate tobacco use, reflecting on progress made during the past 20 years, to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of the “State of Tobacco Control” report.
According to the report, the country has seen significant progress in tobacco control policies at the state level, including smoke-free workplace laws, tobacco taxes, and Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation treatments. At the federal level, progress included prohibition of flavored cigarettes, apart from menthol, and increasing the federal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years. However, new tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes are threatening this progress. More than 2 million middle and high school students reported electronic cigarette use in 2021. In addition, there are considerable disparities related to tobacco use, with smoking remaining high among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives (20.9 percent), as well as lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults (19.2 percent). Furthermore, menthol cigarettes are used by almost 81 percent of Black Americans and are disproportionately used by pregnant women, youth, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans. In a study released in 2021, menthol cigarettes were found to be responsible for 1.5 million new smokers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on tobacco use is still being assessed,” the authors note. “According to a Federal Trade Commission report in 2020, cigarette sales increased for the first time in 20 years.”