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Report: Arizona is a mixed bag in controlling use of tobacco products

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PHOENIX — Arizona is a mixed bag when it comes to controlling tobacco use, according to a recent report from the American Lung Association.

The Valley of the Sun got grades across the board in the organization’s report: Arizona was given an F for funding tobacco prevention programs, an A in smoke-free air, and F in tobacco taxes and a C in access to programs to help smokers quit.

JoAnna Strother, regional director of public policy for the American Lung Association of the Southwest, said there are some positives to the state making the grade.

“Here in Arizona, we get an ‘A’ for smoke-free air, because we have done a really good job here at protecting people in their workplaces, at parks and at recreational facilities from second-hand smoke,” she said.

But Strother said Arizona’s “F” in funding tobacco prevention programs could improve if the state raised taxes on tobacco, which could then fund anti-tobacco programs.

“For every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes, it reduces consumption about four percent for adults and seven percent among our youth,” Strother said.

Strother said smoking among teenagers is a still a big nationwide issue, with one in four high school students using tobacco products.

“It’s really imperative that the state and federal government take more aggressive action to reduce tobacco caused deaths and disease,” she said.

The American Lung Association said tobacco-related diseases kill 480,000 Americans annually. For those who would like to quit smoking or know someone who would like to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

KTAR News’ Lauren Grifo contributed to this report. 

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