State tobacco settlement and tax revenues and tobacco control funding appropriations after the Master Settlement Agreement—United States, 1998–2010
A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that only a small portion of the funds states receive from the state tobacco settlement and excise taxes are appropriated for tobacco control programs. An analysis of all state appropriations of settlement and excise tax revenue between 1998 and 2010 revealed that out of the $243.8 billion received by the states collectively during this time, only $8.1 billion were allocated for state tobacco control programs. While tobacco-related revenue increased steadily during the study period, state and federal tobacco control appropriations peaked in 2002, and have declined in recent years. The authors of the report conclude that if states were to follow the CDC’s recommendations on tobacco control spending, larger reductions in smoking and smoking-related disease and death could be achieved. Click here to read the full MMWR, or click here to read a press release from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
CounterTobacco.org: A tobacco control point of sale resource center
The website CounterTobacco.org is an online resource for local, state, and federal organizations working to counteract tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale (POS). The website provides an all-in-one, readily accessible resource for POS issues, with how‐to guides to policy change, links to external partner resources, awareness campaign videos, research findings, news and updates, and more. The site was developed by a team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Click here to visit the website.
NACCHO tobacco policy statements
The National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO) board of directors has approved two tobacco control and prevention policy statements. The titles of the policy statements are “Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes ("E-Cigarettes")” and “Supporting Local Legislation to Ban Hookah Smoking.” NACCHO is urging the FDA to enact strict regulations regarding the sale and use of e-cigarettes as well as conduct more research into their health impact. Additionally, NACCHO is supporting programs and legislative efforts to reduce public exposure to hookah smoking. To read more about NACCHO’s policy statements, click here.
NALBOH releases two tobacco position statements
The National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) has released position statements on smoke-free cities and e-cigarettes. The statement on smoke-free cities addresses the negative health outcomes related to secondhand smoke, and resolves that all NALBOH meetings should be held in smoke-free cities. Click here to read more. The statement on e-cigarettes contains information about what exactly e-cigarettes are and how limited scientific data exist that support the notion that e-cigarettes can be used as successful cessation devices. To read more, click here.
Groups call on Family Dollar to reconsider decision to sell cigarettes
The Break Free Alliance and other public health organizations are collaborating on an effort to put a stop to Family Dollar Store’s recent decision to start selling cigarettes. On the “Family Dollar Values” website, anyone can send a message to Family Dollar’s CEO, communicate with the company through social media, and learn more about this campaign. Click here to download a flyer that can be shared with partners and includes talking points about the public health issues associated with Family Dollar’s decision. Legacy has created a new action guide to make it easy to participate in a day of action on May 31st, World No Tobacco Day, by holding an event at a Family Dollar store, writing an op-ed or letter to the editor, or harnessing social media to generate support for the campaign.
Experts draw parallels between obesity prevention and tobacco control movements
Tobacco use and obesity are the number one and number two leading causes of preventable death in the United States, respectively. Aside from the parallels in the devastating health effects and economic toll of the two health issues, public health advocates note that the strategies that have led to reductions in smoking rates could lead to similar progress in reducing the prevalence and costs of obesity. Specifically, experts believe that as community-based activism has changed tobacco-related policies and reduced smoking rates, policy changes such as more informative food labels, limits on marketing to children, and taxes on unhealthy products could help to reverse the obesity epidemic. Click here to read the full article, which was produced in collaboration between USA Today and Kaiser Health News.
Commercial RYO machine legislative update
Tobacco retailers are taking an interest in legislation to limit the use of roll-your-own cigarette machines. An analysis from CSP, a convenience store industry publication, notes that state legislative sessions in 2012 have shown that many states support the regulation of roll-your-own (RYO) machines. Twenty-seven states have introduced legislation to regulate operators of RYO machines, and ten have passed various forms of legislation. A few of the states mentioned in the analysis are Arkansas’ law that completely banned the use of commercial RYO machines, Iowa’s requirement of RYO operators to pay a state excise tax per cigarette manufactured, and the Vermont legislature’s passage of a bill that banned the operation of RYO machines in the state. Click here to read about legislative actions in other states.
Colorado returns millions of dollars to fight tobacco, cancer (CO)
Colorado’s new 2012-2013 state budget will give $46 million back to cancer-fighting initiatives. Due to previous budget deficits, the state legislature confiscated Amendment 35 cancer-fighting money acquired from tobacco taxes for emergency funds; this new budget will return the money to its intended place. Restored funds will also be used to boost tobacco “quit lines” for Colorado, restore screening for cancers, and for treatments when tests discover illnesses. To read more, click here.
House vote to eliminate prevention fund jeopardizes efforts to improve health, reduce costs
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has stated its disapproval of the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to get rid of the Prevention and Public Health Fund in order to fund legislation that will prevent interest rates on federal student loans from increasing. The Prevention Fund was created by Congress to address chronic diseases and unhealthy behaviors that create highs costs for the healthcare system, government budgets, and for taxpayers. According to CTFK’s statement, tobacco use costs $96 billion a year in healthcare costs, and investing in prevention and cessation programs saves more money than the programs cost. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids urges the U.S. Senate to reconsider eliminating the Prevention Fund and to consider the Fund’s potential to reduce disease and medical costs over time. To read this statement, click here. Click here for a recent update on the continued negotiations in Congress.
Adult awareness of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in fourteen countries
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines the public’s awareness of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) among adults in fourteen countries. Data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) reveals that in countries where more forms of tobacco marketing are banned, the public’s awareness of tobacco marketing is lower. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) calls upon nations to ban all forms of TAPS, and previous research shows that reducing exposure to TAPS can prevent youth smoking initiation and help adult smokers quit. The authors note that the findings of this study underline the importance of advertising bans, particularly in the retail environment. Click here to read the full article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Moving towards plain packaging of tobacco products (New Zealand)
In efforts to reduce the death, disease, and costs associated with smoking, the New Zealand Government has announced that it will introduce a plain-packaging bill similar to the law recently adopted in Australia. The Associate Minister of Health, Hon Tariana Turia, made this announcement of the nation’s desire to implement plain packaging, but adds that ultimately, the passage of this law is contingent on the outcome of a public consultation process that will take place later this year. Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death and disease in New Zealand, and Turia is confident that the Government will be able to come to an agreement that will satisfy international commitments, existing treaties on tobacco control, as well as various trade and investment agreements. Click here to read more of Turia’s statements on this issue. Click here to read a statement released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in response to U.S. Commerce threats to New Zealand regarding their decision to adopt the plain-packaging policy.
Cigarette packs to feature graphic warnings (United Arab Emirates)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government will soon require that cigarette packs feature a graphic picture showing the ill effects of smoking. Currently, cigarette packs “are nicely labeled and attractive, which is far from the truth in terms of what it does to your health” says Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the tobacco control committee in the Ministry of Health. The new images, scheduled to begin in August, will first appear on cigarette packs, and then will be printed on all tobacco product packages. A study by the University of Waterloo in Canada has shown that smokers report smoking less as a result of graphic warning labels. Government leaders hope that the combination of taxation, labeling, and tobacco advertising bans will be an important step in reducing smoking in UAE. Click here to read more.
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