Oregon gets mixed grades on 2013 'tobacco report card'

While Oregon did receive an A for smokefree air quality in 2013, it fell short when it came to programs designed to protect youth from smoke and curb tobacco-related disease, according to a report from the American Lung Association.

The group released its "State of Tobacco Control 2014" report this week. The annual report tracks progress on tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels. Report officials assign letter grades based on adequate laws and programs put in place to reduce tobacco use. Lung association officials say tobacco causes 5,000 deaths in Oregon annually and costs $2 billion in health care costs.

Oregon received an F grade in tobacco prevention and control program funding and cessation coverage categories. It also received a D in the cigarette tax category, but received an A in smokefree air."

"Oregon's report card was decidedly mixed in the fight against tobacco use in 2013," said Carrie Nyssen, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific region. "We made some progress in protecting our citizens from tobacco-caused diseases like lung cancer and COPD by providing additional funding for our state tobacco program. But there is still much more we can do."

Lung association officials said they hope to dedicate more money to tobacco prevention programs and increase Oregon's cigarette tax in 2014 to get the failing grades up.

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