Kentucky Cigarette Tax to Rise by 50 Cents Per Pack July 1
The state excise tax on a pack of cigarettes in Kentucky will rise from 60 cents to $1.10 on July 1, following a campaign by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow that launched in October 2017.
The Coalition had sought a $1 per pack increase to reduce smoking, particularly among youth and pregnant women in Kentucky. While the 50-cent increase will not achieve the significant health benefits the Coalition had sought, leadership in the state legislature said that it was the largest increase they could get enough votes to pass this year. The last time the legislature raised the cigarette tax was in 2009, when it rose from 30 cents to 60 cents per pack. The revenue measure was a companion to the first budget passed by a Republican-led legislature in a century in Kentucky.
Significant cigarette tax increases have been shown in multiple communities across the nation to reduce smoking rates, particularly among those younger than 18, women who are expecting, and those living on low incomes. The smoking rates among these populations in Kentucky remain significantly higher than the national rates; they're also higher than the rates in states with cigarette taxes at or above the national average of $1.72 per pack.
The Coalition said, moving forward, it would continue to advocate for additional, effective tobacco-control policies at both the state and local levels.
Paducah and Oldham County Strengthen Smoke-Free Laws
Two Kentucky communities have eliminated exemptions to their local smoke-free laws. Oldham County and the City of Paducah have joined 28 other Kentucky communities that prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces and enclosed public spaces. Both communities also added e-cigarettes to the list of restricted tobacco products, bringing to 20 the number of local smoke-free laws that cover e-cigarettes in the Commonwealth.
The stronger laws will increase the percentage of Kentuckians protected from breathing dangerous smoke and other emissions from tobacco products while on the job and visiting enclosed public spaces. Venues covered under the laws include restaurants, bars, gaming venues, and private homes that are used as day care facilities.
Coalition members were actively involved in urging elected officials to strengthen these laws. The Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy's map of smoke-free laws in Kentucky will be updated soon to include the newest ordinances.
Partner and Member News
Lexington Ballfields Now Tobacco-Free
City ball fields in Lexington, as well as Whitaker Bank Ballpark where the Lexington Legends play, are now tobacco-free. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Legends CEO Andy Shea were joined by Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky CEO Ben Chandler on April 3 to announce the new policies, joining a nationwide movement to break the longstanding connection between playing baseball and using smokeless tobacco.
"Lexington is sending a powerful message to young players looking to emulate their hometown baseball idols," said Chandler, whose office facilitated the announcement. "Most tobacco use starts in the teen years, so youth prevention efforts like this are very effective in reducing tobacco use and, over the long term, improving health in Kentucky. We encourage other Kentucky cities and counties to follow Lexington's example."
The Foundation also presented Shea and Gray with Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion awards for passing the new tobacco-free policies in Lexington.
Left to right: Lexington Legends CEO Andy Shea, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky CEO Ben Chandler, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray
The Foundation's tobacco-use reduction initiative is focused on advocating for proven policies including smoke-free and tobacco-free laws, and making cessation programs more available to smokers who want to quit.
See the news release here.
Other Tobacco Control News
Salyersville Passes Strong Smoke-Free Workplace Law
Congratulations to the Salyersville City Council for passing a comprehensive smoke-free law during their meeting on February 26. The new ordinance protects people in indoor public places and places of employment from secondhand smoke from cigarettes and vapor from e-cigarettes.
The new law goes into effect this month. Keep an eye on http://www.uky.edu/breathe for the updated listing, map, and a copy of the full ordinance.
FDA Crack Down on Youth E-Cig Sales
The Food and Drug Administration signaled a
stronger stance on e-cigarette sales to minors when it sent warning letters to 40 retailers, including Circle K/Mac's in Lexington. The letters told recipients that inspections revealed they had sold e-cigarettes, specifically JUUL products, to minors, and warned them of penalties for continuing the practice.
CDC "Tips from Former Smokers" Campaign Launches New, 25-Week Run
New "Tips from Former Smokers" ads began airing April 23, 2018, will run for about 25 weeks in every media market in the country. The compelling Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ads will be placed on broadcast and cable TV, radio, and billboards; online; and in magazines and newspapers. Spanish-language ads will run on Hispanic TV and digital networks, and Asian-language newspaper ads will run in cities with large Asian populations. The ads are designed to give viewers hard-hitting reminders that cigarette smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems.
See announcement here.
Help for Commenting on FDA Tobacco-Related Rulemaking Announcements
The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium has provided talking points for the public health community as they comment on potential new regulations regarding nicotine levels (comments due June 14, 2018), flavored tobacco products (comments due June 19, 2018) and premium cigars (comments due June 25, 2018. These rulemakings are at an early stage in the process. These notices follow the FDA's July 2017 announcement of a "new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that will serve as a multi-year roadmap to better protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death."
Tobacco Companies Ordered to Publish Statements about Product Dangers
Tobacco companies have been ordered to publish corrective statements on their websites and cigarette packs soon. The language warns consumers about the addictiveness of tobacco products and their adverse health effects. Samples of the required statements include: "Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction," and "More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined." The May 1 order requiring the website and packaging statements further implements a 2006 court order, and follows corrective television and newspaper ads that began running in November 2017. See news release from several of our national partners here.
Kentucky Appalachian Youth Entrenched in Tobacco Culture
Teens in Appalachian Kentucky are entrenched in a culture of tobacco, where adults enable its use, they can easily access tobacco products and tobacco symbols are prevalent, according to a study conducted by University of Louisville professors. The authors conclude that stricter enforcement of tobacco sales and marketing restrictions may be helpful in protecting this vulnerable population. See study here.
Recent News Coverage
Coalition in the News (please share these stories on social media):
Oldham County adds e-cigarettes to smoking ban, partly at the behest of students, and drops exemptions, including break rooms
As Kentucky Senate debates budget, a group pushes for cigarette tax increase
House OKs 50-cent hike in cigarette tax; health advocates say $1 needed to have any health benefit; fate in Senate is uncertain
50-cent cigarette tax hike a political milestone but doesn't go far enough to fight cancer
Could This Be the Year for a Hefty Tobacco Tax Increase in Kentucky?
Kentucky Mulls Boost in Cigarette Tax
$100,000 advertising campaign for cigarette-tax hike will remind Kentuckians of the damage done to them by smoking
These doctors want to prescribe a cigarette tax for Ky.
WIN-WIN Cigarette tax increase healthy answer to crises
Rally At Capitol To Raise Cigarette Tax
New Infographics Promote Solution to End Tobacco Use Among Teens and Pregnant Women
Cigarette Tax is Good Health Policy, Especially for Kentucky Babies and Youth
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