The State of Tobacco in Idaho

In Idaho, like much of the United States, we’ve seen decades of declining rates of tobacco use. From an adult use rate of approximately 42%, and youth use at 36%[1] in 1965, down to 13% and 5%, respectively. This shows us that the investment in prevention, cessation, and education have been well worth the lives saved from the harmful outcomes of tobacco use and nicotine addiction. However, with the introduction of electronic cigarettes and other new tobacco and nicotine technology, we are seeing an increase in rates of use of these products that has been alarming and tragic.

With 21%[2] of Idaho youth using new electronic products, it is necessary to understand that these products are not an alternative to smoking, or a proven method of quitting. New research has found that smoking traditional tobacco products and vaping electronic products have similar harmful cardiovascular effects, as well as each having potentially damaging effects individually. The upward trend in use, and the number of individuals who use both products, demonstrates the need to hold electronic smoking devices to the same rules and standards as traditional tobacco products.

We recently increased the minimum sales age of these products to 21 years, to ensure youth do not have easy access. And in Idaho we now require all retailers of any tobacco or electronic smoking devices to obtain a permit to sell them. However, we do not tax electronic products in the same way we tax traditional cigarettes and we do not have a comprehensive, statewide smokefree law to protect workers from secondhand smoke.

The tobacco industry, which includes electronic nicotine and other tobacco products, spends nearly $50 million in Idaho each year to market and target their products to specific populations, including youth. Idaho will soon receive settlement dollars from a lawsuit against Juul for their practices, and the AHA believes those dollars like other tobacco settlement dollars should be used to support tobacco education, prevention, and cessation.

We have many efforts underway to help prevent the initiation of tobacco use, and help protect more Idahoans from the harmful impacts of both traditional tobacco and new and emerging products. We need your help to ensure our City Council members and Legislators around the state understand the growing problem before we are once again at peak levels of use, and costing the state in dollars, health, and lives. If you are interested in helping in our efforts to fight against the harms of tobacco and nicotine use and addiction, please reach out to me at [email protected], to help us create a healthier Idaho!





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