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Report: Iowa Gets Failing Grades For Tobacco Prevention Efforts

Lindsay Fox
Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
An annual report by the American Lung Association found Iowa ranks low for preventing tobacco use.

Iowa has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to preventing tobacco use, according to a new report by the American Lung Association. 

The Annual State of Tobacco Control report gave Iowa low grades in nearly every category. This includes failing grades for its tobacco prevention and control program funding and for the amount it taxes tobacco products.

Beth Turner, the manager of health promotions at the American Lung Association, said raising Iowa’s long-standing tax of $1.36 per pack of cigarettes to at least $1.50 will help curb tobacco use.

"We see that for every about 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes, it reduces consumption by about 4 percent among adults, and 7 percent among our youth," she said.

The report also found that Iowa has allocated $4.2 million for tobacco prevention programs this year, less than 20 percent of the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The only category where the state received an “A” was for its Smokefree Air Act, which bans smoking in most public areas.

But Turner said improvements can be made there as well.

"We have some loopholes within that Smoke Free Act. For example, we’re allowed to smoke inside of our casinos. And e-cigarettes are also not a piece of this puzzle," she said.

Last week, Iowa lawmakers advanced a bill that would add vaping to the state's Smokefree Air Act, banning it in restaurants, bars and other places where smoking is prohibited.

According to the report, Iowans spend more than $1.2 billion dollars on smoking-related health care costs a year and more than 5,000 Iowans die each year from smoking.