We need to do annual check-ups with our family physicians, don’t we? They can tell us so many things. In the last several weeks, there have been two great annual tobacco “check-ups” that can certainly tell us a lot about the state of Ohio. Let’s take a look. The first is the “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Broken Promises To Our Children”. This report highlights that Ohio ranks 31st in its spending on tobacco prevention and cessation. This is only a little over 11% of what the CDC recommended spending amount is. The state of Ohio brings in $1.2 billion in tobacco revenue and the tobacco industry spends almost $430 million to market its product in Ohio. So, what is the real cost to our state? Residents’ state and federal tax burden from smoking-caused expenditures is $1,186 per household. Tobacco killed 20,200 Ohio citizens last year. This isn’t a very good check-up.
Let’s now turn to the American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control Grade Card”. When I was a child, my teacher handed my grade card to me, and I then handed it to my parents. Here are Ohio’s grades: Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: F, Smokefree Air: A, Tobacco Taxes: F, Access to Cessation Services: C, Flavored Tobacco Products: F. That’s 3F’s, 1C, 1A. They gave Ohio an overall grade of F. The ALA’s Ohio annual healthcare cost due to smoking is $5,647,310,236. And the last number I will share is the high school tobacco use rate. It is 36.70%. That is staggering.
What do we do with a diagnosis like this? Our primary care physician would certainly voice their concern about the state of our condition. We must use our voice and share our concern about the condition of the health of Ohio. We need to let our local elected officials know our concerns and most importantly, let our state and federal elected officials know these outcomes are not acceptable. We have the right and responsibility to hold them accountable. Ohio’s health will not improve if we simply hope for better outcomes.