A recent report shows Alabama is lagging behind much of the country when it comes to tobacco use.
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network released its annual report called "How Do You Measure Up?" earlier this month. It finds that although the national adult smoking rate is just over 15 percent, more than one in five adults in Alabama are smokers. Meanwhile, nearly four thousand people in the state are diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer each year.
Ginny Campbell is with the Cancer Action Network. She says one of the best steps would be to raise Alabama’s cigarette tax. That would discourage people from smoking while also providing the state some much-needed extra revenue.
“We could dedicate some of that money to the Medicaid program, or we could fund the tobacco prevention and control department with that. There’s lots of – listen, our state is so far behind in terms of financing. This is a no-brainer.”
Campbell says the state legislature could also strengthen Alabama’s smoke-free laws, or devote more funding to tobacco control. That department currently receives less than three percent of the funding recommended by the CDC.