Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

District gets an F in tobacco control spending

The American Lung Association has released its annual report on how states and the District are doing in tobacco control, and the results are mixed for the District.

On the plus side, we got an “A” in the category of smokefree air. The grade was due not only to our strong smokefree workplaces law, but a measure the Council passed last year (prompted by Smokefree DC) that says business owners can post “No Smoking” signs outside their premises to ensure that secondhand smoke doesn’t drift back inside.

On the other end of the spectrum, the District got an “F” for how much we spend on tobacco prevention and control. We have $3.8 million dedicated to it in fiscal year 2011; the recommended amount is $10.5 million.

In other categories, we got a “B” on our cigarette tax ($2.50 per pack) and a “D” in our cessation efforts (due to funding, a really great cessation program folded last year).

Why spend more to try to help people stop smoking? Because smoking costs the District $626 million annually, the ALA notes. It’s just shortsighted not to invest money on the front end, not to mention the pain and agony involved in illness and death caused by cancer, heart disease and emphysema.

I’m just saying.

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