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Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Lighthouse Auction

In Local News on April 13, 2009 at 8:50 am

The Lighthouse Recovery Center (with locations in Washington and Petersburg) will hold their annual benefit auction on Saturday, May 2, at the 4H building in Washington.

Donations are now being accepted and can be delivered to the County Farm location, or pickup is available.  To make a donation, please contact the Lighthouse at 257-0113 or Pete Aldrich directly at 444-9775.

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Update on HB 1213

In State News on April 9, 2009 at 7:08 am

HB1213 stalled in the Senate committee, and there are not enough votes to amend the law to make it comprehensive, so it will not get a hearing in this committee this week.

There now may be an effort to amend the present weak, exemption-laden version of HB1213 into another bill in conference committee. We want to remain vigilant with our message to legislators that we want a comprehensive smokefree law, not a weak, loophole-ridden law, and we would rather wait for a comprehensive law than to adopt a weak law that doesn’t protect all workers.  Twenty-five states now protect workers –including those who work in all bars and restaurants—and we want a law that protects all of Indiana’s workers, too, not weak half-measures.

Also, tomorrow morning the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee will release the Senate version of the biennial budget. ITPC’s budget is part of this biennial budget. Please contact members of the Indiana General Assembly and ask them to sustain ITPC’s funding at present levels so we can reduce the serious toll of tobacco in Indiana and keep doing the great work in our communities throughout Indiana.

Currently, ITPC is appropriated at $16.2 per year for this past biennium that ends in July, and the House budget and the Governor’s recommendation put ITPC at $14.5 million per year for this next biennium.

Fix It Or Nix It

In State News on April 8, 2009 at 7:24 am

The smokefree workplace bill (HB 1213) that has been passed in the House and is now being considered in the Senate contains these exemptions.

Small workplaces: Exemptions for small workplaces (with 3 or fewer employees for example) present a serious problem for people working in small offices with bosses or coworkers who smoke. The provisions are unnecessary and discriminatory and are rarely strengthened down the line.

Private offices: Because most buildings have shared ventilation systems, smoke from a private office can travel throughout the building, exposing everyone in the building to the health hazards of secondhand smoke. In addition, nonsmoking employees and custodians who must enter the offices as part of their jobs, as well as members of the public who must enter them for business purposes, will be exposed to secondhand smoke.

Hospitality workplaces: Workers and patrons at restaurants, bars, casinos and other hospitality businesses should be fully protected. In the past, some workplaces were considered separately and exempted fully or partially from a smokefree law. Those days are over. With the abundant science about the dangers of secondhand smoke and public education surrounding the issue, exemptions for certain workplaces are no longer acceptable. Additionally, we now have an abundance of data showing that smokefree laws have no negative impact on business.

Here are several reasons why we want only a comprehensive smokefree workplace law in Indiana.

  • The so-called compromise that passed the House is all headline, no substance. It covers a lot of workplaces that are already smokefree but it excludes the workers who are most likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke. And it creates two classes of workers – those that deserve a healthy work environment and those that don’t.
  • It makes no sense for the Indiana General Assembly to recognize the serious health impact caused by secondhand smoke, but then fail to protect the most exposed groups of workers, such as bar and casino workers.
  • The best way to protect people’s health is to pass a comprehensive bill the first time. Examples from the local Indiana ordinances have shown that it’s very difficult to go back and fix a watered down ordinance once it has been passed. Well-intentioned lawmakers have passed weakened ordinances with the idea of coming back and strengthening them later. All of the comprehensive smokefree air laws that have been passed in Indiana passed the first time in comprehensive form — with the exception of Ft. Wayne. It took Ft. Wayne 10 years to go back
    and make their smokefree air ordinance comprehensive.
  • Partial measures work for politicians but not for health, communities, or businesses. Partial measures create an unlevel playing field and pit business against business. Like other communities, Indianapolis is now looking to fix its ordinance so it extends to all businesses.
  • Public opinion and expectations are changing rapidly. It would be irresponsible to accept a measure that would ultimately be a delay and obstruction to the final outcome of a smokefree law that covers all workplaces. The majority of Hoosiers already wants this outcome, and more and more will continue to ask for it. If the legislature does not act to protect all workers now, the issue will continue to be addressed each year until smokefree workplaces become a reality in Indiana.
  • We don’t measure health improvement solely on a legislative scorecard – this issue has already been progressing without the legislature. If the legislature doesn’t have the courage to give us all health protection from secondhand smoke, Indiana communities will continue to step up and protect their citizens.

We Don’t Want A Partial Smoking Ban

In State News on April 7, 2009 at 8:42 am

There is only one calendar week left potentially for committee hearings, and three weeks left of the legislative session after this week. It is very important to reach out to members of the Indiana Senate and the Indiana House in your area and let them know that we all OPPOSE HB1213 in its current form and want them to vote against this legislation unless it is comprehensive and covers all workers from on-the-job exposure to secondhand smoke.

We want to move forward with a comprehensive smokefree workplace law, but only a true, effective and comprehensive smokefree workplace law that protects all workers, and HB1213 in its present form is not it. It can be amended in the Senate Commerce, Public Policy, and Interstate Cooperation committee to become comprehensive, but there is not yet a majority of committee members who support making it comprehensive. If your state senator is on this list, reach out to that member today to ask him or her to support an amendment that would make HB1213 comprehensive and oppose moving forward with HB 1213 in its present form [not comprehensive].

Senate Commerce Committee members are listed here.

Even if you already have made contact with your members of the Indiana General Assembly, contact them again to ask them to oppose a partial smokefree law that fails to protect the most exposed to secondhand smoke — such as bar and casino workers, who also are the least protected by voluntary policies and at higher risk for heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems.

If you’re not sure who your legislators are, you can go to this website to find out who they are. You can call Sen. Hume, who covers Daviess and Pike counties at 812-459-0548 or email twoolbri@iga.in.gov.

Camel Dissolvable Products

In State News on April 6, 2009 at 9:14 am

Want to know more about Camel Orbs, Sticks and Strips? Check out this great video:

Voice Video

Here’s an informative article, as well:

Voice Article

Tobacco Is Not Cool

In Local News, National News on April 6, 2009 at 8:16 am

Thursday night, we went to a concert in Evansville. Afterwards, we stopped at a large gas station to fill the car and get drinks. Inside the store, the spit tobacco was displayed on the counter right next to the gum and candy. The packaging for spit tobacco was very similar to many of the gum and candy packages. And the tobacco was in a place where children could easily swipe it.

Another gas station in Montgomery has tobacco products back in a corner away from the cash register. Again, easy for kids to steal.

Then Friday, I took a day off to recoup from staying out all night at the concert. I was watching a movie — The Mask — and began to notice how much smoking there was in that movie. Every time Stanley wanted to look cool and sexy, he whipped out his cigarettes. This is an older movie, but current movies still portray smoking as cool and sexy. Did you know that Disney movies portray more smoking than movies than any other company???

Although we have known for a long time that cigarettes, spit tobacco and secondhand smoke are dangerous — and that Big Tobacco companies use their obscene profits to influence our government leadership and movie makers — we still allow tobacco to be “cool” in our culture. There is nothing cool about the death and disease tobacco causes. We need to change our cultural attitudes towards tobacco.

A couple weeks ago, I had a display at Barr-Reeve jr/sr high. The majority of kids there are good students and avoid things they shouldn’t be into, like tobacco. But one kid looked at the pictures I had of cancers caused by tobacco and said, “That can’t be real. That doesn’t really happen.”

I told him: Just ask all the people who had loved ones died from tobacco use. Just ask the people who had their jaws removed or suffer emphysema. My own grandmother died from throat cancer caused by smoking. Just ask the 90% of each local student body who raised their hands when Rick Stoddard asked them if they knew someone who died from tobacco use. It’s real to them.

Pike County Children’s Safety Fair

In Local News on April 2, 2009 at 11:31 am

Did you know that children exposed to secondhand smoke at home and in cars are more likely to have severe asthma, ear infections, and lung problems?

To learn more, visit us at the Pike County Children’s Safety Fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at the old Petersburg gym. We’ll have a booth with information about smoking, secondhand smoke, alternative tobacco products, and how tobacco harms children.

And remember, if you need help quitting … for the safety and health of your children … call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

As Cigarette Taxes Increase, There’s Never Been A Better Time To Quit Smoking

In Local News, National News on April 1, 2009 at 8:01 am

In the wake of a dramatic price increase on cigarettes, Hoosiers are seeking help to quit smoking in record numbers.
In early March, the major tobacco companies hiked prices ahead of an increase in the federal excise tobacco tax scheduled for April. In the first week following the tobacco industry price increases, the number of calls to the free Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW tripled, reaching the highest level since was the service began three years ago.

From March 1 to 29, Daviess County had 17 calls to the Quitline, up from nine in January and three in February. In the same time period, Pike County had nine calls to the Quitline, up from one in January and none in February.

“The truth is, the cost of smoking is becoming just too much for many Hoosiers especially those who are struggling to make ends meet in today’s tough economy, ” said Sally Petty, project coordinator for the Daviess County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition. “We want every smoker in our community to know that we’re here with free resources to help them break what we know is a powerful gripping addiction.”

Research shows that an increase in the price of tobacco products from a tax increase encourages adults to quit and youth not to start. In fact, numerous studies indicate that for every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes, youth smoking drops by 7 percent and overall cigarette consumption falls by about 4 percent. 

Beginning April 1, the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes increased from 39 cents to $1.01. In Indiana, it means that a pack of cigarettes will cost nearly $5.

According to Petty, the revenue from the increased federal tobacco taxes are being used to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a federal initiative that will provide health services for low-income children.

Increasing, too, is the tax on “other tobacco products,” such as little cigars and smokeless tobacco. The tax on little cigars is increasing from a mere 3.7 cents to more than a dollar, and the tax on smokeless tobacco will nearly triple in price (from 4.4 cents/can to 11.3 cents/can). The tax on products such as full-sized cigars and pipe tobacco is also going up.

“We’ve seen the tobacco industry target our youth with these ‘other tobacco products’ and it’s important that the tax on these items are raised as well. The last thing we need is to create a demand for other tobacco products because they’re cheaper,” said Petty.

Each year in the United States, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation more than $96 billion in health care costs. In Indiana, tobacco-related diseases claim the lives of more than 9,700 Hoosiers every year and account for health care losses estimated at $2.08 billion.

A key resource available to Hoosiers is the free Indiana Tobacco Quitline – 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). Open every day from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m., the quitline is staffed with trained quit coaches who are available to provide free tips and counseling on how to quit using tobacco.

“The benefits to quitting smoking literally last a lifetime,” said Petty. “You’ll feel better, the food you eat will taste better, and most important, you’ll be living a healthier life with your family and friends for years to come.”

For more information related to quitting smoking, visit the Web site, www.itpc.in.gov, see your physician, or call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.