The American Lung Association Gives Texas an 'F', Calls it the "Tobacco Industry's Playground"

Good luck fighting tobacco in Texas, which is not only a state but also a Malaysian cigarette brand.
Smoking rates in the U.S. are plummeting. According to the CDC, there were three million fewer smokers in 2010 than in 2005. The factors contributing to this decline are are fairly obvious: improved educational efforts; cessation programs; higher cigarette taxes; tighter state and local anti-smoking laws; and a growing stigma against lighting up.

But there are still a ton of people who smoke, about one in five adults according to the CDC, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in this country. Each year, the federal government estimates, tobacco costs the U.S. some $193 million in medical expenses and lost productivity.

All of which is background for "State of Tobacco Control 2013," the American Lung Association's annual state-by-state survey of the country's anti-smoking efforts.

Texas does not fare well. In three of the four categories examined by the ALA -- tobacco prevention funding, smoke-free air, and health coverage for cessation -- Texas gets an "F." In the fourth, cigarette taxes, Texas does slightly better, earning a "D."

The state was dinged by the ALA for weak anti-smoking support in Medicaid and state employees' health insurance plan; a lack of state laws (though there are local regulations) banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other public places; spending just four percent of the CDC-recommended amount on anti-smoking efforts; and for being, in the words of the the ALA's Sara Dreiling, "the tobacco industry's playground."

That's not to say that Texas did particularly bad when compared to other states, particularly in the South. The ALA is generally critical of tobacco prevention efforts in 2012, which it refers to as a "missed opportunity," saying the government has absented itself as "an ever-expanding and evolving tobacco industry pursues new users with ruthless zeal and strengthens its grasp on its current victims by creating new products and new ways to market them."

In particular, the organization is concerned about the rise of smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes (particularly those with flavors like Atomic Fireball and cherry cola), and roll-your-own cigarettes, all of which are being taken advantage of by cigarette makers to expand their market share.

In a press release, Dreiling expressed optimism that Texas will crack down in 2013.

"We can no longer allow the Lone Star State to be the tobacco industry's playground," she said. "It's going to take a great deal of political will, but we are confident our elected officials are up to the challenge. Our kids and current smokers are depending on them for help."

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Stephen K Jones
Stephen K Jones

Men who smoked 5 or fewer cigars per day were found to have the same mortality rate as non-smokers. Men who smoked 10 or fewer bowls of pipe tobacco were found to have a lower mortality rate than non-smokers. Source? CDC website.

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Between this article and what I recently witnessed in Vegas, I'm buying more tobacco stock.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Is it my imagination or are more and more people smoking on DART train platforms?

everlastingphelps topcommenter

As near as I can tell, all they have to complain about is that Texas doesn't intrude into people's private property and try to tell them what to do enough, and doesn't waste as much money as they want on useless propaganda.

These are not serious people.  These are religious fanatics, just like the alcohol prohibitionists -- hell, more like the anti-dancing Baptists.


Just to get this straight, an anti-smoking group is opposed to electronic cigarettes? Opposed to a vapor nicotine delivery system that harms no one else?

Much like religion, I just dont get the fervor. You didn't want to breathe our smoke, so we smokers went outside, fine. Now why can't you just leave smokers alone? It doesn't affect you.

These crusades are getting absurd.


That optimism may be unfounded, seeing how Texas government is really only concerned with vaginas and eternal souls, not lungs.


@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Assuming it's an outdoor platform (so not Cityplace) I pretty much smoke on every one out of principle. Y'all wanted us outdoors, you got it. We've tried to compromise.

A few weeks ago I had lunch at the Klyde. Great food truck. Afterwards I'm having a cigarette, mind you outdoors on a beautiful day in a park over a freeway, and security told me I couldn't smoke in a public park. So I stepped literally 3ft to the sidewalk. How that 3ft makes a difference is beyond me.


@SuperfuzzBigmuff Pretty soon you'll only be able to smoke in your car. With the windows rolled up. At least 3 miles away from schools and churches. IT'S EVERYONE'S AIR

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault