DENVER (KDVR) — The best and worst states for tobacco control policies have been released, and Colorado has earned mixed grades.

This comes from the American Lung Association’s 21st annual State of Tobacco Control Report and it’s critical because tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America.

Tobacco takes over 5,000 lives of Coloradans each year and a lot of students are using it too.

This report evaluates state and federal actions taken to eliminate tobacco use, tobacco control laws and policies to save lives.

Here is the grade breakdown for Colorado this year:

  • Funding for state tobacco prevention programs – Grade D
  • Strength of smoke-free workplace laws – Grade B
  • Level of state tobacco taxes – Grade C
  • Coverage and access to services to quit tobacco – Grade A
  • Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products – Grade F

A large part of the state’s progress comes from Proposition EE, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2020 to raise taxes on tobacco products over time. This has improved prevention funding, and the state should continue to see more improvement as the law is fully implemented.

However, there are still many Coloradans who are impacted by tobacco use including 32% of high school students.

From the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 2.5 million high school and middle school students use e–cigarettes and more than 85% of those kids use flavored ones.

Also, menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities.

That strongly tips off Colorado policymakers to continue to work on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes.

One area the state did really well in, grade A, is coverage and access to services to quit tobacco.

So, if you are someone who is trying to quit and needs help, you can go to lung.org for local and virtual resources.