Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Clearing the Air

If you don't think policy and excise taxes on cigarettes don't make a difference, I encourage you to check out an article recently published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In recent years, the state of California has systematically imposed excise taxes on cigarettes, banned smoking in public places through clean indoor air laws and helped residents of the state to stop smoking. Meanwhile, Alabama has done very little as a state to address these issues. In this article, entitled "Why Are Women More Likely to Die from Lung Cancer in Alabama?," researchers found that for Caucasian women born since 1933 lung cancer death rates in California have dropped by more than half while in Alabama they have more than doubled.

The evidence of policy impact could not be clearer! While Birmingham has recently taken a stand to enforce clean indoor air laws and tighten regulations on smoking in public spaces, the entire state of Alabama must continue to advocate for stricter policies across the board. Otherwise, I fear that we will continue to pay the price.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

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