Tobacco in Alabama

Last updated

Tobacco is an agricultural product acting as a stimulant triggering complex biochemical and neurotransmitter disruptions. [1] Its main ingredient is nicotine and it is present in all cigarettes. [1] Early tobacco usage was for medical cures and religious purposes. [2] In the early 1900s, cigarette usage became increasingly popular when it was sold in mass amounts. [3] In 1964, the Surgeon General of the United States wrote a report concerning the dangers of cigarette smoking. [4] In the United States, for the past 50 years efforts have been made so that the public should be aware of the risks of tobacco usage. [5]


In Alabama, 22.1% of the adult population (ages 18+), over 783,000 individuals, are current cigarette smokers. Across all states, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults ranges from 9.3% to 26.5%. Alabama ranks 42nd among the states. [6] Among youth ages 12–17, 12.0% smoke in Alabama. The range across all states is 6.5% to 15.9%. Alabama ranks 40th among the states. [6]

Among adults age 35+ years, over 7,600 died as a result of tobacco use per year, on average, during 2000–2004. This represents a smoking-attributable mortality rate of 317.5 per 100,000. Alabama's smoking-attributable mortality rate ranks 44th among the states. [6] [7] Also, approximately 850 adult non-smokers die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. [7]

Anti-tobacco actions

Nonprofit groups

The American Lung Association, an organization which campaigns against the use of tobacco, [8] is a member of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Alabama and works towards reducing the tobacco usage in the state. [9] They try to discourage tobacco usage by working to create smoke-free environments and advocating an increase of tobacco taxes. [9]

State legislative efforts

While Alabama does not have a statewide smoking ban, smoking is prohibited in many public places and meetings because of the Alabama Clean Indoor Act which was enacted in 2003. [10] [11] State local governments have their own bans against smoking in their counties. [11] A bill for a statewide smoking ban failed in the Alabama Legislature in May 2008. [10] Alabama attempted to pass a smoking ban again in 2009, that was stalled when its author, Vivian Figures, pulled the bill from Senate consideration after it was amended by Senate to include smoking exemptions in certain places. [10] [12] In March 2011, a new bill was proposed, that if passed would ban smoking in all public places. [13]

Youth initiatives

In 2008, a student group called Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) received $28,000 from the Alabama Department of Public Health to spread their message. [14] SWAT operates out of Bryant, LeFlore and Murphy high schools and Phillips Preparatory middle school. [14]

The Youth Empowerment Program is a peer-teaching model that provides anti-tobacco messages to more than 58,000 teens according to Alabama's state health officer Don Williamson. [15] The state funds community groups to educate people about the dangers of second-hand smoke and to encourage young people to reject tobacco use. [15] The State Health Department also has a new teen cessation project that uses advertising on television and radio, as well as a MySpace page. [15]

The Auburn CARES Coalition and the Alabama Department of Public Health encourage young people to make healthy tobacco-free choices and for those using chewing tobacco to quit. [16] ADPH offers a free support and counseling service to help users successfully quit. [16]

Economic impact

The State of Tobacco Control 2010 Report grades states on their anti-tobacco efforts; in this report, Alabama received straight "Fs". [17] The state was graded in four categories:

Alabama ranked right at the bottom in all four categories. [17] For every smoker in Alabama, $993 a year is spent on hospital care as a result of smoking. [18] A national study shows that Alabama's economy suffers $5.6 billion a year in direct costs because of smoking, which also includes more than $1 billion in lost workplace productivity and $1.7 billion in direct medical expenditures. [18]

Smoking costs in Alabama

• Alabamians spend $842 million a year on drugs directly as a result of smoking. [19]

• Nearly $125 million a year is spent by Alabamians in nursing homes directly as a result of smoking. [19]

• For every smoker in Alabama, $993 a year is spent on hospital care as a result of smoking. [19]

• Annual health care costs in Alabama directly caused by smoking: $1.49billion [20]

• Portion covered by the state Medicaid program: $238million [20]

• Residents' state and federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures: $540. [20]

•Smoking-caused productivity losses in Alabama: $2.24billion. [20]

Alabama bills on smoking

Specific smoking regulatory bills passed in Alabama include the following:

Tobacco and Alabama's youth

While the number of high school smokers is at an all-time low, 22.1 percent or 12,400 children under 18 still become new smokers each year. [16] It is estimated that 174,000 kids who are now under the age of 18 and alive in Alabama will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. [25] Furthermore, offsetting the positive trend of reduced smoking rates in youth is an increase in the use of smokeless tobacco products such as snuff, dip, and chew. [26]

A new product called "Snus," described as a smokeless, spitless, less detectable way to use tobacco is marketed to young users. [16] With higher levels of nicotine than other snuff products, it contains some of the same carcinogens and is more addictive. [16]

On the 2009 Auburn City School's Pride Student Survey, 10 percent of 10th graders and one out of seven seniors reported using smokeless tobacco products in the last year. [16] This is a dangerous trend since smokeless tobacco products are not safer, and a user's chance of getting oral cancer is 50 times greater than a non-user. [16]

Related Research Articles

Tobacco smoking Practice of burning tobacco and ingesting the resulting smoke

Tobacco smoking is the practice of burning tobacco and ingesting the smoke that is produced. The smoke may be inhaled, as is done with cigarettes, or simply released from the mouth, as is generally done with pipes and cigars. The practice is believed to have begun as early as 5000–3000 BC in Mesoamerica and South America. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 17th century by European colonists, where it followed common trade routes. The practice encountered criticism from its first import into the Western world onwards but embedded itself in certain strata of a number of societies before becoming widespread upon the introduction of automated cigarette-rolling apparatus.

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a public health strategy to lower the health risks to individuals and wider society associated with using tobacco products. It is an example of the concept of harm reduction, a strategy for dealing with the use of drugs. Tobacco smoking is widely acknowledged as a leading cause of illness and death, and reducing smoking is vital to public health.

Smoking in Japan Aspect of public health in Japan

Smoking in Japan, though historically less restricted by law than in many other nations, has significantly changed in recent years. Tobacco use has been in nearly constant decline since 1996 and the decline has been mainly accelerating in recent years.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is a federal statute in the United States that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 22, 2009. The Act gives the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate the tobacco industry. A signature element of the law imposes new warnings and labels on tobacco packaging and their advertisements, with the goal of discouraging minors and young adults from smoking. The Act also bans flavored cigarettes, places limits on the advertising of tobacco products to minors and requires tobacco companies to seek FDA approval for new tobacco products.

Inflight smoking Smoking tobacco on an aircraft

Inflight smoking refers to smoking tobacco on an aircraft while in flight. While once prevalent, it is now prohibited by almost all airlines and by many governments around the world. The bans on inflight smoking have been imposed in a piecemeal manner around the world beginning in the 1980s. The use of electronic cigarettes is also prohibited on many flights.

Smoking in Egypt

The use of tobacco products in Egypt is widespread. It is estimated that approximately twenty percent of the population uses tobacco products daily. Cigarettes are the most common form of tobacco consumption in Egypt, with an estimated twenty billion cigarettes smoked annually in the country. After cigarettes, shisha water-pipes are the most common form of tobacco consumption. Many Egyptians are not fully aware of the health risks of using a water-pipe and many believe it to be less harmful than cigarettes.

Smoking in the United States military

Smoking in the United States military has been observed in previous wars, but smoking's close association with the United States military started in World War I when tobacco companies began to target military personnel through the distribution of cigarettes to servicemen and the eventual inclusion of cigarettes into rations. Although the military has attempted to implement tobacco control initiatives, the association between smoking and military personnel has persisted to the present day as smoking rates remain high, despite declines in civilian rates. Such high rates have led to questions about the effect of smoking from the apparent health risks to troop readiness and training costs.

Smoking in Canada Overview of smoking in Canada

SmokinginCanada is banned in indoor public spaces, public transit facilities and workplaces, by all territories and provinces, and by the federal government. As of 2010, legislation banning smoking within each of these jurisdictions is mostly consistent, despite the separate development of legislation by each jurisdiction. Notable variations between the jurisdictions include: whether, and in what circumstances ventilated smoking rooms are permitted; whether, and up to what distance away from a building is smoking banned outside of a building; and, whether smoking is banned in private vehicles occupied by children.

Smoking in Ireland is banned fully in the general workplace, enclosed public places, restaurants, bars, education facilities, healthcare facilities and public transport. However, it is permitted in designated hotel rooms and there is no ban in residential care, prisons and in outdoor areas. Public opinion is in favour of the bans on smoking imposed in Ireland.

Smoking in Germany Overview of smoking in Germany

Under federal law the manufacture, importation, distribution, and advertisement of tobacco is regulated whilst the 16 federal states of Germany each have their own legislation regarding smoking in public places, which range from relatively weak regulations to full smoking bans in all licensed premises, childcare facilities, schools and governmental institutions. As of July 2016, nearly 40% of the German population live in a state which bans smoking in all restaurants, pubs, cafés and nightclubs. The other 13 states permit smoking in designated rooms or in bars with a floor area of less than 75 square meters.

Smoking in South Korea has decreased overall for both men and women in the past decades. However, a high prevalence of tobacco use is still observed, especially with the rise of novel tobacco products like e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products. There are socioeconomic inequalities in smoking prevalence according to gender, income, education, and occupational class. Advocates call for measures to reduce the smoking rates and address smoking inequalities using a combination of monitoring and tobacco control policies. These measures include significant price hikes, mandatory warning photos on cigarette packs, advertising bans, financial incentives, medical help for quitting, and complete smoking bans in public places.

In the United Kingdom, smoking is legally permitted, with certain conditions set from laws enacted separately in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is illegal to smoke tobacco in enclosed public places, such as restaurants, shops or pubs, under the Health Act 2006 for England and Wales, the Smoking Order 2006 for Northern Ireland and the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 for Scotland. It is also illegal to smoke in a car if one is transporting people under 18 or if a vehicle is being used for work purposes. Smoking is prevalent among a sizeable, but continuously reducing minority of the population. It has been argued that smoking puts considerable strain upon the NHS due to the health problems which can be directly linked with smoking. Successive UK Governments have endeavoured to reduce the prevalence of smoking. As part of this commitment, the NHS currently offers free help to smokers who want to quit.

Smoking in India has been known since at least 2000 BC when cannabis was smoked and is first mentioned in the Atharvaveda. Fumigation (dhupa) and fire offerings (homa) are prescribed in the Ayurveda for medical purposes and have been practiced for at least 3,000 years while smoking, dhumrapana (धूम्रपान), has been practiced for at least 2,000 years. Tobacco was introduced to India in the 17th century. It later merged with existing practices of smoking.

Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 Indian legislation

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 is an Act of Parliament of India enacted in 2003 to prohibit advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India.

Tobacco-free college campuses

Tobacco-free college campuses are colleges and universities that have implemented policies prohibiting the use of tobacco products at all indoor and outdoor campus locations. Tobacco is known to be harmful to the health of smokers, bystanders, and the environment. Since this issue was first recognized, colleges have been creating policies for tobacco use on campus in an effort to improve health standards, provide more enjoyable campus conditions, and to reduce the negative environmental effects of tobacco.

Nationwide smoking ban order (Philippines)

Executive Order No. 26, entitled Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-Free Environments in Public and Enclosed Places, was issued by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on May 16, 2017. This executive order invoked the Clean Air Act of 1999 and the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 to impose a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places in the Philippines. The ban replicates on a national level an existing ordinance in Davao City that Duterte created as mayor in 2002. The order took effect on July 23, 2017, 60 days after its publication in a newspaper.

Tobacco policy in Armenia

Tobacco policy in Armenia is the attempt by the Armenian authorities to regulate smoking in Armenia. Tobacco laws and regulations are controlled by the Ministry of Health of Armenia. Armenian men tend to be the most common tobacco users, as 42.5% of men over the age of 15 smoke.


  1. 1 2 "What Is Tobacco?". Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  2. Randall, Vernellia. "The History of Tobacco". Boston University MedicalCenter. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  3. Randall, Vernellia. "The History of Tobacco". Boston University MedicalCenter. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  4. Randall, Vernellia. "The History of Tobacco". Boston University MedicalCenter. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  5. Simpson, David (2003). "Tobacco: Public Perceptions and the Role of the Industry". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (Statistics in Society). Blackwell Publishing. 166 (2): 233–239. doi:10.1111/1467-985X.00271. JSTOR   3559662. S2CID   122078517.
  6. 1 2 3 "Smoking and Tobacco Use: State Highlights". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  7. 1 2 "The Toll of Tobacco in Alabama". Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  8. "2010 Key Findings-Commitment". American Lung Association. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  9. 1 2 "Behind the Scenes-Alabama". American Lung Association. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  10. 1 2 3 "Smoking Bans By State". Cigar Friendly.US. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  11. 1 2 Byers, Jacqueline (14 February 2011). "Smoking in the Hot Seat". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  12. Reeves, Tim (4 April 2009). "No Smoking Bill Delayed Again". Clayton Adviser. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  13. "Alabama bill to ban smoking in public places stalls in committee". Alabama Live LLC. The Associated Press. 23 March 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  14. 1 2 "Student anti-tobacco groups from four Mobile schools given $28,000". Press Register.
  15. 1 2 3 "Teen Smoking". Times Daily.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Letter: Youth remain targets of tobacco industry- smokeless or not".
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wolfson, Hannah. "American Lung Association: Alabama Fails at Tobacco Control, Prevention". The Birmingham News.
  18. 1 2 Editorial Board. "OUR VIEW: Without an aggressive policy to discourage smoking, Alabama's economy will continue taking". The Birmingham News.
  19. 1 2 3 "New Frontiers For Tobacco Control". State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System.
  20. 1 2 3 4 "The Toll of Tobacco in Alabama". Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids.
  21. "Prohibition against smoking in public places; exceptions". Code of Alabama.
  22. "Designation of smoking areas; requirements; nonsmoking policies". Code of Alabama.
  23. "Posting of "No Smoking" and "Smoking Area" signs; violations of chapter". Code of Alabama.
  24. "Local laws, ordinances, or regulations". Code of Alabama.
  25. "The Toll of Tobacco in Alabama". Tobacco Free Kids.
  26. "Letter: Youth remain targets of tobacco industry -smokeless or not". 17 February 2010. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.