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News Summary

Texas, other states, should increase anti-smoking campaigns, CDC chief says

Publication Date: 4/23/2010
  • Author:ROBERT T. GARRETT
  • Publication:The Dallas Morning News

States should ramp up their anti-smoking campaigns and snuff the potentially lethal habit, the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

In Texas, where nearly 3.3 million people smoke, that should mean passing a statewide ban on smoking in public workplaces and using more cigarette tax revenue to run anti-tobacco TV ads, according to a new agency report on what states are doing to discourage smoking.

"States know how to end the smoking epidemic," CDC Director Thomas Frieden told a gathering of health care journalists in Chicago.

But a national decline in smoking stalled about seven years ago, he said.

Frieden said states need to up the ante, making greater use of "tobacco control" strategies that are proven to work--higher state tobacco excise taxes, stronger smoke-free workplace laws, ad campaigns and offering Medicaid recipients more help in quitting.

Texas is one of seven states without a statewide smoke-free law, he noted. In last year's session, a smoke-free bill by Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, failed to pass.

The CDC chief noted that places with smoke-free laws have seen a 17 percent reduction in hospitalizations from heart attacks.