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Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Indiana Ranks 28th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

In State News on November 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

Indiana ranks 28th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

Indiana currently spends $9.2 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 11.7 percent of the $78.8 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other key findings for Indiana include:

  • Indiana in the past three years has cut funding for its tobacco prevention program by 43 percent (from $16.2 million to $9.2 million), and funding is now at the lowest level since the program was launched 10 years ago
  • Indiana this year will collect $599 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 1.5 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.
  • The tobacco companies spend $426.2 million a year to market their products in Indiana. This is 46 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 12 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program has contributed to significant declines in tobacco use. Between 2000 and 2008, smoking declined by 42 percent among Indiana high school students. However, that progress is at risk because of the budget cuts. Indiana is also falling short in implementing other proven measures to reduce tobacco use. The state lacks a statewide smoke-free law that applies to all workplaces, restaurants and bars, and the state cigarette tax of 99.5 cents per pack ranks 31st in the nation and is below the national average of $1.45 per pack.

“Indiana’s progress against tobacco is at risk unless state leaders step up the fight by increasing funding for tobacco prevention and implementing other proven measures, including a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Despite the state’s progress, tobacco still takes a huge toll in health, lives and health care dollars in Indiana. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment for Indiana that saves lives and saves money by reducing health care costs.”

In Indiana, 23.5 percent of high school students smoke, and 9,900 more kids become regular smokers every year. Each year, tobacco claims 9,700 lives and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills.

Nationally, the report finds that most states are failing to adequately fund programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Altogether, the states have cut funding for these programs to the lowest level since 1999, when they first started receiving tobacco settlement payments. Key national findings of the report include:

  • The states this year will collect $25.3 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just two percent of it – $517.9 million – on tobacco prevention programs.
  • States have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by nine percent ($51.4 million) in the past year and by 28 percent ($199.3 million) in the past three years.
  • Only two states – Alaska and North Dakota – currently fund tobacco prevention programs at the CDC-recommended level.

The report warns that the nation’s progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The United States has significantly reduced smoking among both youth and adults, but 20.6 percent of adults and 19.5 percent of high school students still smoke.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.

More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements.

Pike Co. Health Fest And Smoke-Free Air Forum A Success

In Local News on November 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm

The Pike Co. Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition hosted the Pike Co. Health Fest at Winslow Community Center Saturday. The Patoka Township Fire Department served a chili lunch, the Pike Co. Health Department gave flu shots, and several groups had informational booths, including Golden Living Center, Pike Co. Dept. of Child Services, Purdue Extension, and the Pike Co. Sheriff’s Department. About 40 people attended the event.

Three speakers talked about secondhand smoke in the workplace and the need for a smoke-free workplace state law. The first speaker was Dr. Fenol with Petersburg Medical Clinic. He talked about how secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, breast cancer, asthma, and other health problems.

The second speaker was Marilyn McCullough with Thompson Insurance. She talked about how secondhand smoke raises health and building insurance costs and building maintenance costs. She also mentioned studies showing restaurants and bars that go smoke-free do not lose profits and sometimes even become more profitable.

Lastly, Buffy McKinney spoke about her mother, Cheryl Rose, who never smoked but died this spring of lung cancer caused by working in a smoky casino. Buffy also talked about the need for a state law that protects all workers from secondhand smoke.

All three speakers agreed that we should protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke in the same way we protect them from contaminated food and hazardous working conditions.

South Dakota Voters Approve Smoke-Free Law

In National News on November 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

Check out this statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The people of South Dakota delivered a historic victory for health and the right to breathe clean air by overwhelmingly approving Referred Question 12 that makes almost all workplaces, including restaurants, bars and gaming facilities, smoke-free. With bipartisan support, South Dakota is the 29th state to pass a strong smoke-free law that includes all restaurants and bars.

We applaud the leadership and persistence of the many individuals and organizations who have championed the ballot measure, which clears the way to implement a law approved by the Legislature and Governor Mike Rounds in March 2009. The voters have done the right thing to protect workers and the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke.

The South Dakota vote underscores the strong public support for action to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. It adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect everyone’s right to breathe smoke-free air. With the addition of South Dakota, more than 63 percent of Americans will be protected by strong smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. No one should have to put their health at risk in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out.

South Dakota joins 28 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in passing smoke-free legislation that covers restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Background on Secondhand Smoke and Smoke-Free Laws

The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer. In issuing a groundbreaking report on secondhand smoke in June 2006, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona stated, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.”

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.  The Surgeon General also found that secondhand smoke is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection.

The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. As the Surgeon General concluded, “Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”

It’s time for every state and community to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air.