Policy

State

Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage 2010 Report
The American Lung Association has released a new report, Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage, which gives an overview of smoking cessation services offered in each state. The report updates last year's data to include trends and changes to coverage; information on how federal initiatives like health care reform, stimulus funding, and changes to Medicare can help smokers quit; and state by state trends and data regarding quitlines. The American Lung Association says that while there has been progress, states should do more to provide Medicaid recipients, state employees, and those with private insurance with barrier-free access to comprehensive tobacco cessation medication and counseling. Click here to read more, read the full report, or view the state-specific cessation coverage information.

Lawmaker tries for statewide smoking ban again (IN)
Indiana State Representative Charlie Brown has filed paperwork to propose the implementation of a statewide comprehensive smokefree law. The proposed bill will make all public places smoke-free, including bars, restaurants, and casinos. The bill is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air. A recent poll also indicates that 53% of Indiana residents would favor candidates that support smokefree legislation. This is the fourth time Brown has proposed such a law in Indiana. In the past, it has passed in the House but has not reached the Senate for a hearing. Click here to read more.

Ban on flavored tobacco products becomes city law (NY)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a bill into law that extends the Food and Drug Administration's ban on the sale of flavored cigarettes to include most other flavored tobacco products. The law is intended to reduce the use of cigars and cigarillos among adolescents by making flavored tobacco products unavailable in the city. Flavored tobacco products tend to be attractive to youth and are often marketed toward them. The new law includes cigars and smokeless tobacco, but excludes tobacco, menthol, mint, and wintergreen flavors. Retailers found violating the new law can be fined up to $2,000 or have their tobacco vending license suspended. Click here to read more.

South Dakota smoking ban officially in effect (SD)
An expansion of South Dakota's smoke-free law went into effect November 10, following the results of a public vote. The expansion, proposed in 2009, extended the state's smoke-free law to bars, restaurants, and casinos, which were exempt from the original 2002 version of the law. The law was originally slated to go into effect in July 2009, but opponents successfully petitioned to bring the measure to public vote. On November 2, 2010, 64% of voters favored the expanded smoke-free law (Referred Question 12), making South Dakota the 29th state (including the District of Columbia) to enact a comprehensive smoke-free law. The new law applies to all public places, with exemptions only for designated hotel rooms, tobacco shops, and existing cigar bars. Click here or here to read more. Click here to visit the state's tobacco free website. According to a statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, South Dakota was one of three states in which voters passed ballot measures to enact smoke-free policies.

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National

The beginning of the end of the tobacco epidemic: HHS releases its first-ever tobacco control strategic action plan
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a new strategic action plan for tobacco control that includes actions intended to reduce smoking rates, prevent youth initiation, and promote cessation. The four main strategies are to: 1) improve the public's health through the implementation of evidence-based tobacco control interventions and policies; 2) engage the public by changing social norms surrounding tobacco use; 3) use HHS resources to create a society free of tobacco-related disease and death; and 4) advance knowledge by accelerating research to expand the science base and monitor progress. Each of these strategies has several specific activities and actions associated with it as ways of realizing the overall vision of creating a society free of tobacco-related death and disease. Click here to read more, or click here to download the full plan, Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More graphic cigarette warnings proposed
As part of its new strategic plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced its plans to implement a new regulation that will require cigarette packages to be printed with large text warnings paired with color graphic images that portray negative health consequences of smoking. The warnings will comprise at least 50% of the upper portion of the front and rear panels on the package, and similar warnings would be required in cigarette advertising. Designed to encourage tobacco users to quit and prevent youth from starting to smoke, these will be the most significant changes in tobacco health warnings in the U.S. in over 25 years. After taking public comments, the FDA will finalize a set of nine graphic and text warning statements by June 22, 2011. Companies will have to manufacture cigarettes with the new warnings by September 22, 2012, and retailers must only sell packages with the warnings by October 22, 2012. Read more here or watch a webcast of the announcement from Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, Howard K. Koh, M.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of HHS and Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., FDA Commissioner. Click here to view the proposed warning labels.

ASTHO updates Tobacco Control Position Statement
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Board has approved an updated position statement on tobacco use prevention and control. This updated statement reflects ASTHO's support of the FDA Tobacco Control Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's provisions for bolstering state and local efforts to reduce tobacco related disparities, disease and death. ASTHO supports evidence-based policies and recommends that state health agencies engage in best practices to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, provide cessation resources, prevent initiation, and control tobacco use. View the entire statement here or contact Sara Koka for more information.

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International

WHO: Global anti-smoking rules agreed upon
The World Health Organization sponsored a session of the Conference of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control from November 15-20 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. During the meeting, the 171 participating nations discussed proposed guidelines for the implementation of regulations on the contents of tobacco products; measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation; and education and communication. Pricing and tax policies, the control of smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, and liability about the health effects of tobacco were debated, and recommendations for sustainable alternatives to tobacco farming were proposed. The delegates agreed that smoking cessation programs should be paid for by national health systems, and that governments should support the training of healthcare personnel to help smokers quit. However, they did not reach consensus on how to regulate flavors or additives, encourage tobacco farmers to switch crops, or stop illegal tobacco smuggling. Click here to read more, or click here to view a press release from the WHO.

Cigarette package warning labels: International status report
A new international report on cigarette package health warnings was released by the Canadian Cancer Society at the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November. This new report, entitled Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report, provides an international overview ranking 175 countries/jurisdictions based on warning size, and lists those that have finalized requirements for picture warnings. Regional breakdowns are also included. Click here to access the report in English, French, or Spanish.

Australia to restrict internet tobacco advertising (Australia)
Retailers in Australia will no longer be allowed to advertise cigarettes on the internet as "cheap" or "tax-free," as part of a nationwide campaign to reduce smoking rates by 10% by 2018. The new law aims to reduce the use of online advertising and social networking sites to promote tobacco use among young people. Australia currently has some of the world's most restrictive tobacco advertising laws; tobacco advertising is prohibited on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines, and at sporting events. Additionally, retailers are not allowed to display cigarette packages in stores, and all packages have graphic health warnings. Efforts are also being made to mandate plain packaging of tobacco products. Click here to read more.

Dutch govt. intends to exempt small bars from smoking ban (Netherlands)
The Dutch government has announced that it will create an exemption in the 2008 public smoking ban to exclude bars smaller than 753 square feet that are staffed only by the owner, which would apply to an estimated 3,000 of 5,500 bars. The exemption will not affect current restrictions that apply to restaurants, hotels, bars with staff, and discos. Fines ranging from $420 to $3,360 already issued to owners of bars that will be covered by the exemption will be withdrawn. Health Minister Edith Schippers believes that the exemption will allow consumers freedom of choice, while still protecting the health of workers. The decision must still be approved by Parliament, which is supportive of the measure. Click here to read more.

Poland starts public smoking ban (Poland)
A new smoke-free law went into effect in Poland as of November 15. The new law prohibits smoking in schools, restaurants, bars, hospitals, playgrounds, cultural sites such as museums and theatres, and on public transportation. Business owners with venues larger than 100 square meters are permitted to set aside a separately ventilated room for smoking, but food cannot be served in these areas. Individuals found violating the new law can be fined up to 500 zlotys (about $171), and businesses that do not comply can be fined up to 2000 zlotys (about $684). Click here and here to read more.

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