Failing health: American Lung Association gives Utah Fs on Tobacco Control report card

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The American Lung Association released it’s 18th annual State of Tobacco Control report card Wednesday and if your kid brought home grades like the ones Utah received you’d be having a parent-teacher conference.

According to the report, Utah continues to have the lowest rate of tobacco use in the nation at 15 percent of residents smoking or vaping but their grades still show we’re failing in 3 out of 5 categories.

The American Lung Association gives Utah an F for funding state tobacco prevention programs.

Although we earned an A for the strength of our smoke-free workplace laws, Utah’s level of state tobacco taxes got an F. They recommend increasing taxes on cigarettes and vape products to decrease usage.

They rated our access to services to quit tobacco a B but slapped Utah with another F for failing to raise the minimum age of purchase to 21. The report says e-cigarette use among high school students rose 132 percent from 2017 to 2019 with more than 1 in 4 kids having tried vaping at least once.

The Lung Association encourages Utah lawmakers to ban all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored vape juice which young people tend to prefer.

According to the ALA, tobacco use causes 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S. The Utah Department of Health estimates that it includes about 1340 deaths per year here.

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