Tobacco Use and COVID-19
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Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. In Wyoming alone, it claims approximately 800 lives each year and creates nearly $240 million in annual healthcare costs directly attributed to smoking and nearly $450 million in total productivity losses. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined – and many more die from other tobacco-related causes such as fires caused by smoking and smokeless tobacco use. (WYSAC Tobacco Prevention and Control Evaluation, 2016)
The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) seeks to reduce tobacco-related disease and death through the following activities:
- Wyoming Quit Tobacco (WQT) – This is a free program for all Wyoming residents who are seeking help with quitting tobacco.
- Statewide media campaigns – In partnership with a media company, the TPCP uses mass media to educate the public about tobacco-related issues and promote resources.
- Supporting local level efforts – TPCP staff serve as a resource and provide technical assistance across the state for community-level tobacco prevention and control work.
- Evaluation – In partnership with an evaluation team, the TPCP funds data collection and analysis to monitor progress in Wyoming tobacco prevention and control and evaluate the effectiveness of statewide programs like the WQT.
On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The amendment raised the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21. This amendment became effective immediately. As of December 20, 2019, it is illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes – to anyone under the age of 21.
The FDA has free resources available to assist retailers in calculating the age of customers. Retailers who use FDA’s This is Our Watch digital age verification calendar may update the minimum purchase age on the calendar to 21 years. Instructions on how to update the age on the digital calendar are available on FDA’s website. Retailers who would like a This is Our Watch digital age verification calendar may order one free of charge from the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products Exchange Lab.