Iowa Is Getting Smoked On Tobacco Prevention
Put down that cigarette and take a whiff of this report.
Iowa is not doing well when it comes to preventing access to and use of tobacco products in the state by young smokers. The legal age for smoking in Iowa is 18 but a new report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and American Lung Association took into account smokers under 21.
The American Lung Association's Annual Report Card gave Iowa three F's: in tobacco prevention, low taxes on tobacco products (which in Iowa is still below the national average, at $1.72), and easy access to tobacco products for young smokers. Officials say expanded availability of flavored e-cigarettes and vapes are not helping curb the use of traditional tobacco products, either.
It's clear Iowa can do more. State legislators are about to introduce a bill to raise the cigarette tax, which hasn't been done in over a decade.
As you might expect, it's mostly blamed on money: lack of funds to promote prevention. However, while Iowa is provided with nearly $300 million dollars for this cause every year, we are generally only spending a little more than $5 million.
Learn more about Iowa's tobacco "report card" here.