For immediate release – Jan 10_ 2008 Contact Dana Kaye_ American by vivi07

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									For immediate release – Jan. 10, 2008 Contact: Dana Kaye, American Lung Association of Oregon, 503-577-6067 (cell)

Oregon Receives Failing Grade on Tobacco Prevention Funding
American Lung Association of Oregon Concerned about Tobacco Use Rates
For the sixth year in a row, Oregon received a failing grade in tobacco prevention funding, according to the annual American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control (SOTC) report issued today. The report graded the 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in four categories: smokefree air, tobacco taxes, funding for tobacco prevention and restrictions on youth access to tobacco products. Oregon received the following grades: Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending, Grade: F; Smokefree Air, Grade: C; Cigarette Taxes, Grade: C; and Youth Access to Tobacco Products, Grade: F. Oregon was specifically cited for funding its Tobacco Prevention and Education Program at much less than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practices minimum state spending recommendation. The CDC suggests Oregon spend approximately $21.1 million, which is $15-20 per capita based on population, demographics and tobacco use rates. Currently only $9.1 million is appropriated for the 2008 fiscal year. During the November 2007 election, Oregon voters failed to pass Measure 50, the Healthy Kids Initiative, which would have increased cigarettes taxes by 84.5 cents per pack and provided additional funding for the Oregon Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP). Increasing cigarette taxes is one of the best strategies for preventing kids from starting to smoke. The tobacco industry spent a record $12 million dollars to oppose Measure 50 and successfully defeated the campaign. “It’s unfortunate that Oregon’s tobacco prevention funding level has been so low for so long,” said Dana Kaye, executive director of the American Lung Association of Oregon (ALAO). “All of the work we’ve done in the past is coming to a standstill. We’re starting to see a stall in tobacco use rates among youth and adults. This lack of progress could be countered by implementing proven prevention and reduction strategies such as increasing cigarettes taxes and implementing comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs.” The report also noted that although Oregon received a C in “Smokefree Air,” the state passed legislation that closes almost all of the remaining loopholes in its law governing smoking restrictions. However, the new legislation does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2009. “We remain concerned about tobacco use rates, as well as reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. We do commend Oregon’s legislators for banning cigarette smoke in bars and pubs during the 2007 Session,” said Kaye. “This will ensure that all workers are protected and improve the health of Oregonians. The ALAO is encouraging bars to adopt voluntary smokefree policies in 2008. Why wait to protect to protect workers from exposure to such a deadly toxin?”
The American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control Report is available online at www.lungoregon.org. For more information about getting involved, please contact Dana Kaye with American Lung Association of Oregon at 503-718-6141.

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