Nevada receives poor scores in tobacco use report

Nevada received a “C” and four “F”s for tobacco usage, the leading cause of preventable death in the state and nationwide, in a report card released Tuesday by the American Lung Association.

Noncigarette tobacco products and limited funding for state tobacco control programs contributed to the low scores on the 16th annual report by the organization.

“Our perception of smoking is behind the times,” said Will Rucker, director of programs in the state. “People don’t recognize the true health impact smoking has, and how wide ranging the effects are beyond lung health.”

About 18 percent of adults in Nevada use tobacco, according to the report. Sixteen percent of them smoke.

Tobacco use rates among high school students are particularly alarming, Rucker said. Though only about 7 percent smoke cigarettes, almost one in three use other tobacco products like vapor products, e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco.

Those products, Rucker said, sneak up on public health experts tasked with lowering the teen smoking rate.

“We had done a lot of work to reduce tobacco use in the high-school age students and we were very, very proud of ourselves for a long time, because we had gotten that percentage down,” he said. “And then we discovered … they were now using other tobacco products.”

In the past decade, Rucker said, e-cigarettes have grown in popularity immensely. Today, they’re disguised as Hello Kitty pens or flash drives and don’t produce much smoke, so oftentimes, teachers don’t even know their students are using tobacco.

Fruity flavors attract young smokers, Rucker said. And the tobacco industry incorrectly markets e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.

“And it’s not,” he said. “It’s still nicotine; it’s still a tobacco product.”

Limited funding

But fighting back with limited funding has proven difficult, Southern Nevada Health District tobacco control coordinator Maria Azzarelli said.

The state allocated $1.8 million in state and federal dollars for fiscal 2018 to all Nevada agencies working on tobacco control, only 6.3 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended budget, the report showed.

The health district itself receives about $413,000, Azzarelli said.

That compares to an estimated $88.3 million the tobacco industry spends on marketing in Nevada annually, Azzarelli said, citing statistics from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“It sounds simplistic, but really, you need media money to propel the programs you’re working on. The more money we have, the more we can put into the community,” Azzarelli said. Cessation programs and radio and TV campaigns targeted at populations like teens and minorities can help reduce tobacco use rates.

Slow improvement

Though it ranks poorly compared to other states nationwide, Nevada’s smoking rates are far lower than they were two decades ago, Azzarelli said. At the time, Nevada was ranked highest in the nation.

“Believe it or not, back then, we had a lot of resistance,” she said. People didn’t understand the risks of smoking to themselves and those around them.

Nevada’s Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 2006, helped curtail the threat of secondhand smoke, Rucker said. The act banned smoking in places like schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and government buildings, helping the state score a “C” on the American Lung Association’s scale.

Gaming areas of casinos still allow smoking, however, which can pose a risk to guest and employees, Rucker said. The American Lung Association estimates about $1.08 billion is spent on smoking related health-care costs in Nevada annually.

“When we look at the amount that is spent on health care because of tobacco use, that number is astronomical,” he said. “Secondhand smoke is responsible for about 52,000 deaths each year.”

Future improvements to the state’s smoking and tobacco use rates hinge on increased funding for public health programs and additional legislation to bolster the Clean Indoor Air Act and raise the minimum purchasing age from 18 to 21, Rucker said.

Azzarelli adds: “If we really want to combat what the tobacco industry is doing, we need funding to increase.” More money would mean increased anti-tobacco advertising to counteract what the industry promotes.

“The one thing that can be done is to make sure the tobacco control community is not degraded,” she said. “But reducing the funding, that’s not going to help anybody.”

^

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Life
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like