Report: Iowa Not Doing Enough to Prevent Youth Tobacco Use

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Iowa is lacking in areas of tobacco prevention by not passing legislation that could prevent cancer related suffering and death, according to a new study.

The 17th edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality was recently released. The report assess each state’s tobacco control within four areas: cigarette tax rates, smoke free air laws, tobacco and prevention cessation funding, and Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation services. Iowa only passed the litmus test with smoke air free laws. The report was published by the American Cancer Society Action Network (ACS CAN).

Iowa currently taxes $1.36 for each pack of cigarettes, below the national average of $1.81. The findings estimate the health and lost productivity costs attributed to smoking is $19.16 per pack.

Danielle Oswald-Thole, Iowa government relations director for ACS CAN says more than 1,000 children in Iowa are introduced to smoking every year and told Radio Iowa:

“We haven’t passed a significant increase in the tobacco tax since 2007 when we passed a dollar increase. So, that’s over 12 years ago, even though we know that that is an evidence-based policy that would save lives and save money.”

How Do You Measure Up? uses eight categories of public policy. A color coded system is utilized to signify how each state is doing on each issue. Green means doing well, yellow shows some progress and red means the state is falling short in that particular area. Go here to see how Iowa fared.

Oswald-Thode believes there is more work to be done.

“This year, 17,810 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer. We owe it to them – and to everyone at risk of developing this disease – to do everything in our power to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment. This report provides lawmakers a legislative path forward.”

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