States Focus On Comprehensive Approach To Reduce Tobacco Use

WASHINGTON—Though cigarette smoking among high schoolers and adults continues to decline, tobacco use remains the leading cause of premature death in the United States, costing more than $170 billion each year, according to a paper released today by the National Governors Association (NGA).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use primarily starts in adolescence: Nearly nine out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking before they turned 18.

As American children return to school, Health Investments That Pay Off: A Comprehensive Approach to Tobacco Control examines a multi-pronged approach states can adopt, including preventing initiation, promoting cessation and eliminating health disparities caused by tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

For example, California and Arizona have both implemented comprehensive tobacco control programs, yielding net savings within the first five years of implementation. Though other states have saved money through more limited strategies, strong evidence exists for gaining a significant return on investment through a comprehensive approach.

To learn more about the NGA Center for Best Practices Health Division, click here.