American Lung Association Urges NE to Reduce Tobacco Use


The American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Report for 2014 is out, and it's urging states -- Nebraska included -- to do more in reducing tobacco causing death and disease.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S.

According to the ALA, each year nearly 2,300 deaths are caused by tobacco in Nebraska alone.

They feel more steps can be taken, especially to help prevent youth from smoking.

Heather Easton with Two Rivers Health Department said, "Nebraska does have one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the states. That's unfortunate because it's been proven that the higher the tax the less young people will get hooked. We all know that youth don't have a lot of expendable income and so that is one of the ways that we could impact our youth tobacco rate."

Along with tobacco taxation, Nebraska also scored lower for prevention and programs to help smokers quit, but scored high for smoke free air in facilities.

E–cigarettes have become a popular substitute to the real thing but are concerning to health officials since they aren't regulated by the FDA.

"One brand might have a lot of nicotine and another brand might not have hardly any. So we really just don't know what's in them," Easton said. "They haven't been studied very much. I know some places will allow them in the work place but we really don't know what's in the vapor. It hasn't been studied and it hasn't been documented."

Senator Mike Gloor of Grand Island made tobacco taxes his priority bill in 2013. The bill failed to pass last year but has been carried over this year and still holds a chance to pass.