Arkansas Gets 3 ‘F’ Grades in Report Assessing States’ Tobacco Control Efforts

February 15, 2023


Elizabeth (Izzy) Montgomery, MPA
Policy Analyst

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Arkansas receives “F” grades in three categories in a new report that grades states on their tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.

The American Lung Association’s 2023 State of Tobacco Control report gives Arkansas failing grades for efforts to increase tobacco and cessation funding, increase tobacco taxes, and limit the availability of flavored tobacco products.

On tobacco prevention and cessation funding, the report cites total funding for Arkansas’s tobacco control programs in fiscal year 2023 at $10.5 million, including $9 million in state funding and $1.5 million in federal funding. The total is less than a third of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the state spend on tobacco control efforts ($36.7 million), hence the state’s failing grade on this measure. On flavored tobacco products, the state was given a failing grade for lacking any state law or regulation to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products.

The report also gives Arkansas a “C” grade for its efforts to restrict smoking and a “D” grade for access to cessation services. While the state has prohibited or restricted smoking across many settings, including government workplaces and private workplaces, smoking is still allowed in restaurants and bars in Arkansas that do not allow persons under 21 to enter. Additionally, while the state does provide access to cessation services in its Medicaid program, only certain types of counseling services are covered.

The report includes specific actions that policymakers in Arkansas can take to further curtail tobacco use, including:

Notably, some of the highest smoking rates in the country are found in Arkansas, where 21% of adults reported they were current smokers in 2021 and 19.6% of high schools students reported using electronic vapor products in 2021.

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