The American Lung Association has given Rhode Island a mixed report card on tobacco control. While the state has the third highest cigarette tax, it lags behind in funding prevention.
The state got a “B” for its cigarette tax; the third highest in the nation. The $3.46 in taxes slapped onto a pack of cigarettes has lowered smoking rates. However it got an “F” for spending on prevention campaigns.
Karina Holyoak Wood, of the American Lung Association’s Rhode Island chapter, said the state spends about $388,000 on such campaigns. “The tobacco industry pumps millions of dollars every day into tobacco marketing to lure our kids into buying tobacco products. And the state of Rhode Island has very little to do counter marketing.”
Holyoak Wood said state numbers show kids have discovered cheap cigarillos, which come in alluring flavors like strawberry, chocolate, mint, and peach. “They are not classified as cigarettes. They’re bigger, and they’re wrapped in brown cigar paper,” said Holyoak. “We would like to see these cigarette substitute products be taxed at the same rate, or at least a higher rate than they are now.”
She said the state found more kids now smoke cigarillos than cigarettes.
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