American Lung Association scores RI's tobacco efforts

Jan 16, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s scores are mixed on a new report card from the American Lung Association.   The grades are based on the state’s efforts to control and prevent tobacco use.

The American Lung Association gives Rhode Island an A for having the second highest cigarette tax in the nation – a tax the group says works as a deterrent to younger smokers. The Ocean State has also done a good job, it says, on making public spaces smoke-free. But American Lung Association of the Northeast spokeswoman Katie King says Rhode Island needs to do better when it comes to health insurers covering smoking cessation programs.

“While coverage is available, there are barriers in place for people to actually access those benefits," said King. "So there may be restrictions on how often a smoker can try to quit, or a smoker may need to take one medication before they’re allowed to try the next.”

King says the American Lung Association advocates for more flexible coverage. The group also says Rhode Island should spend more on preventing tobacco use, such as investing more in the hotline for smokers who want to quit.

Read the American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control 2013 report.

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