What Should Coalition Focus on for the 2019 Legislative Session?
Kentucky has the second highest adult smoking rate in the country, and one of the highest youth smoking rates. In addition, a startling 35.8 percent of high school teens use some kind of tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And Kentucky Youth Advocates reports that more than one in five women in Kentucky smoke during pregnancy.
Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow made some serious progress in educating lawmakers about the dangers of tobacco use, particularly among youth and pregnant women, during the 2018 legislative session as we campaigned for a tobacco tax increase. Certainly, the fact that we walked into legislators' offices with more than 160 organizations behind us made a powerful statement. Your role as a member or partner in the Coalition truly made a difference.
But as we've said since the Coalition launched in October 2017, we're in this for the long haul. The question is, what should be our next legislative priority?
As Coalition Steering Committee members (see left column) begins considering priorities for the 2019 legislative session, we are seeking input from you, our members and partners. We all share the mission of protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth.
A number of legislative options have been shown to help achieve these goals, and a variety of political and other factors weigh into which tobacco-control measures should rise to the top of the list. Before we start weighing the options, we'd like to know what you think.
Shortly, you will be receiving an email survey to gather this input, and we urge you to take a few minutes to complete it. And as always, you're always invited to contact the Steering Committee through the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky at email@example.com.
Partner and Member News
Coalition Spreading the Message: Lower Smoking Rates will Reduce High Cancer Incidence, Mortality
Members of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow are continuing to work on increasing the proportion of Kentuckians protected by comprehensive indoor workplace laws at the city and county levels. Recently, the city of Murray is developing an ordinance, as are several other communities.Members of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow are continuing to work on increasing the proportion of Kentuckians protected by comprehensive indoor workplace laws at the city and county levels. Recently, the city of Murray is developing an ordinance, as are several other communities.
As he travels the state, Coalition Chair Ben Chandler has been bringing local elected officials together with public health leaders and smoke-free advocates to discuss county or city tobacco-control policy changes that are proven to reduce the impact of high tobacco use on health. Comprehensive smoke-free laws are the most effective measure for reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, according to experts.
"Sharing county-specific data about cancer and heart disease mortality rates alongside smoking rates often can jump start or re-energize the effort to pass local smoke-free laws," said Chandler, who also is president/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "Until the legislature is ready to seriously consider a statewide law, working at the city and county level is the best way to increase the number of people who are protected from breathing toxic air polluted by tobacco emissions."
Chandler also speaks throughout the state at meetings of local chambers of commerce, public health forums and other gatherings to raise awareness of how smoke-free laws improve community health.
The Foundation coordinates with the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy (KCSP) and health department directors as it schedules these meetings and speeches. This collaboration helps ensure that those who are already active in the community are included. When a county judge-executive or mayor expresses interest in moving forward, the Foundation connects them with resources to assist, including those available from KCSP.
If your community is interested in learning more about the benefits a smoke-free on community health or would like assistance in moving forward, please contact Bonnie Hackbarth at the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Amanda Bucher at KCSP, email@example.com.
ACSCAN to Host 2018 Kentucky Cancer Summit Focused on Policy
Attendees at the 2018 Kentucky Cancer Summit will discuss public policies to ensure Kentuckians have access to the care they need to prevent, detect and fight cancer at the 2018 Kentucky Cancer Summit on August 23 in Louisville. The Summit will be hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and presented by the Kentucky Cancer Consortium. RSVP here.
State Employees More Likely to Follow Tobacco-Free Policy in Smoke-Free Communities
Kentucky executive branch employees who live in counties with smoke-free ordinances report that they are more likely to adhere to the state's tobacco-free government property policy, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The employees were less likely to follow the 2014 tobacco-free policy when they saw others violating the order. Similarly, those who had more friends who use tobacco were less likely to follow the order. Download the study here.
Paducah Cardiologist Receives Policy Champion Award for Tobacco-Use Reduction Work
Dr. Pat Withrow was named a Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky for his recent advocacy work to promote a $1 increase in the state cigarette tax to reduce smoking. Withrow was a vocal advocate for the tax, often holding high his home-made oversized cigarette and calling it the most effective drug delivery device on the planet. But his efforts for the tax increase campaign follow a long history of health promotion efforts in the Commonwealth. Learn more here.
Increasing Number of Quit Now Kentucky Enrollees Using Website
The proportion enrollments in the Quit Now Kentucky smoking cessation program from the website jumped 19 percent from fiscal 2017 to 2018. Thirty percent of enrollees (1,390 persons) have entered via the website so far in fiscal year 2018, compared to 11 percent in all of fiscal 2017. Total enrollment to date in fiscal 2018 is 4,584. Check out the website at https://www.quitnowkentucky.org/en-US/.
Elizabethtown Expands Smoke-Free Law to Include E-Cigarettes
Congratulations to the Elizabethtown City Council and smoke-free advocates including the Lincoln Trail District Health Department for protecting residents and visitors from e-cigarette emissions in indoor work-places! The city's comprehensive smoke-free law was broadened on June 4 to include the use of e-cigarettes, now prohibited along with cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all indoor places of employment and public buildings. Read more here.
Recent News Coverage
Coalition in the News (please share these stories on social media):
Murray City Council may mull smoking ordinance during next meeting
A tobacco giant spent far more than anyone on lobbying in 2018
Ben Chandler: Reducing Ohio County's smoking rate will cut cancer deaths, improve health
Kentucky smokers will soon pay more for cigarettes, but smoke-free advocates say it's not enough
Reducing Whitley Co. smoking rate would cut cancer deaths, improve health, Chandler says
Kentucky cigarette tax to rise by 50 cents per pack July 1
Chandler talks tobacco with health coalition
Fueled by tobacco, Kentucky lobbyist spending set record in 2018
Want to join us?
Does your organization want to help make Kentucky healthier by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke? Click here to join our Coalition. Or email Alexa Kerley, firstname.lastname@example.org.