The Texas Public Health Coalition says: More than 30 states now require that workplaces be smoke-free.1 Almost 80 percent of the country’s population is protected by smoke-free laws in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. Yet more than half of Texans do not have this same protection. The state must embrace coordinated, comprehensive strategies to reduce smoking and protect Texans from exposure to secondhand smoke. Reducing the use of tobacco and secondhand smoke saves lives.
Tobacco in Texas: Things You Need to Know
- Texas pays a heavy price for tobacco users. Every year the direct medical expenses of smoking, loss of workplace productivity, and premature death cost Texas more than $20 billion. This means that while the average retail price of a pack of cigarettes is $5.52, the actual cost to the Texas economy is $21 per pack.2 Study after study that measures the effects a smoking ban has on business, such as amount of sales tax receipts, has shown it does not impact business.
- Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Texas. More than 24,500 deaths each year in Texas are linked to tobacco. In 2008, more than 28,000 Texans were diagnosed with a tobacco-related cancer.3
- One out of five adults and youth smoke — that’s more than 3.3 million Texans.4 Their secondhand smoke affects the health of everyone else, especially children.
- Secondhand smoke is associated with an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia in young children. Adults exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk for lung, head, and neck cancers, and heart disease.5
- While 33 Texas municipalities have passed local smoke-free ordinances, less than half of the Texas population living in incorporated municipalities is protected by smoke-free ordinances.6
- Ninety percent of the adults who smoke started smoking before they were 18 years old. This year, more than 27,000 children in Texas will start smoking.7 Extending tobacco cessation insurance coverage to more Texans is essential to stem the morbidity and death linked directly with smoking.
2011 Public Health Coalition Smoke-Free Priorities
- Support comprehensive statewide smoke-free legislation that eliminates exposure to secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces throughout Texas.
- Support funding for evidence-based interventions to reduce tobacco use.
- Provide full smoking cessation benefit coverage for state employees.
- Support enforcement of tobacco laws to prevent access to minors.
1. American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. States, commonwealths, and municipalities with 100% smokefree laws in workplaces, restaurants, or bars. http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/100ordlist.pdf. Oct. 1, 2009.
2. JS Rumberger, et al, Pennsylvania State University, Potential Costs and Benefits of Smoking Cessation for Texas. April 30, 2010.
3. Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Cancer Registry. Expected New Tobacco-Related Cancer Cases and Deaths by Primary Site, Texas, 2008. March 2009.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sustaining State Programs for Tobacco Control: Data Highlights, 2006., Atlanta, Ga: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.
6. Smoke-Free Texas. Texans covered by comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinances – Oct. 2010.
7. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Key state-specific tobacco-related data and rankings.