Measures to Reduce Vaping, Other Tobacco Use, Among Youth Travel Rough Road in Legislature
The Coalition's work during the 2019 General Assembly has been focused on advocating for legislation to protect youth from e-cigarettes and vapes, among other tobacco products. We face a very well-funded tobacco industry, but we're raising lawmaker and public awareness of critical issues at least, and we may yet see some success this session. Here's an update:
The tobacco-free schools bill (HB11), strongly supported by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, passed unanimously out of a House committee on Feb. 7. That should have set it up for success, but then the bill inexplicably languished on the House floor for a month. During that time, several amendments were filed, some of which would have gutted the bill and others that offered compromises that many health advocates believed would still have improved and protected youth health.
ACTION ALERT!! THE WINDOW TO GET THE TOBACCO-FREE SCHOOLS BILL THROUGH THE HOUSE IS NEARLY CLOSED, BUT IT'S STILL POSSIBLE THAT THE HOUSE WILL ACT ON TUESDAY, MARCH 12. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY (MARCH 8), MONDAY AND TUESDAY MORNING AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT HB11!! THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM US.
Meanwhile, a bill (SB249) to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco in Kentucky from 18 to 21,
although supported by Big Tobacco and Juul, may be dead for this legislative session. We had
worked with senators to make some improvements, but it does not appear there are
enough votes for the overall concept this year.
We hope to be able to garner support for a more effective bill in 2020.
A third bill (HB383) that would have added a very low state excise tax onto e-cigarette vapor has yet to make it out of committee. Research shows that only tobacco tax increases high enough to significantly raise the price of tobacco products will reduce use and improve health. The Coalition opposes this bill.
Federal Court Orders FDA to Finalize Graphic Cigarette Warnings Rule by March 2020
A federal court has ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite a rule requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertising, mandating that the rule must be finalized by March 15, 2020. Studies show that graphic warnings are more effective than the current warnings on cigarette packages in informing consumers about the health risks of smoking, preventing children and other non-smokers from starting to smoke, and motivating smokers to quit. At least 122 countries now require graphic warnings on tobacco products.
The new court order stems from a 2016 lawsuit filed by eight public health and medical groups,
Sample Graphic Warning from Canada including Coalition founding partner the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, alleging that the FDA had unreasonably delayed issuing the rule, which was required under a 2009 law. Images included under the FDA's first effort at the rule had been found to violate the First Amendment, but the underlying law was ruled constitutional.
FDA May Restrict Convenience Store Sales of Flavored E-cigs
The youth e-cig epidemic is prompting the FDA to consider requiring convenience stores that sell flavored e-cigarettes to obtain purchasers' ID before allowing them to enter, according to a story that appeared in AXIOS March 1.
Flavorings in tobacco products can make them more appealing to youth, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The FDA's goal is to reduce youth access to these popular products, which are high in nicotine and particularly dangerous for adolescents and teens. In practice, most retailers that sell more than tobacco products would have to erect a separate entrance for an area that sells flavored e-cigarettes.
Subsequent to this story, it was announced that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb would be resigning within the month. Our hope is that the FDA will continue its campaign to address youth e-cigarette use.
One in Four High Schoolers Now Use a Tobacco Product
The youth e-cigarette epidemic is also driving increases in overall tobacco-product use among youth. The CDC reported in February that more than 27 percent of high school students and 7 percent of middle schoolers reported they used at least one tobacco product. The graph below shows U.S. high school use of various tobacco products. Learn more here.
Partner and Member News
American Lung Association Tobacco Control Resources
Want to know what tobacco control measures are in place in Kentucky? Coalition founding partner,the American Lung Association website offers a summary by state. Here is the link for Kentucky. Another section of the website offers several reports regarding trends in tobacco use. Thanks to the Lung Association for compiling these resources in a single location!
Hardin County Strengthens Smoke-Free Law to Add E-Cigs
Congratulations to the Lincoln Trail District Health Department, a Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow Partner, for its work to include e-cigarettes in the ordinance that prohibits smoking inside workplaces in Hardin County. The expanded law will protect employees, customers and guests from the dangers posed by e-cigarette aerosol.
Kentucky Health Cabinet Holds Discussion on E-Cigarettes
"E-cigs: The New Health Crisis," a candid discussion hosted by the Kentucky Department for Health and Family Services, featured Public Commissioner Jeff Howard, M.D., Coalition Chair Ben Chandler, as well as a number of other experts on e-cigarette use and dangers in Kentucky. The discussion, recorded and available on Facebook here, brought stakeholders together to understand the extent of the problem and next steps in Kentucky. You can contribute to the comments on the Facebook page.
Upcoming Partner and Member Events
Cheers for Children to Celebrate Legislative Wins for Kentucky's Kids
Join more than 200 people April 11, 2019, at the year's largest party to celebrate laws passed in this year's General Assembly that will protect and benefit Kentucky's children. Cheers for Children features local food and bourbon tastings, along with a bourbon pull and raffle. Kentucky Youth Advocates also will present the Courage for Kids awards to advocates who helped make progress. Purchase tickets here.
Tobacco Control Spring Conference is April 16-17, 2019
Mark your calendar for the spring conference highlighting the latest in tobacco control, on April 16-17, 2019 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington. For the first time, the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy and the Kentucky Department for Public Health's Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program have partnered to host the annual event as a joint, two-day conference.
Members/Partners in the News
Coalition Urges Kentucky House to Pass Clean Tobacco-Free Schools Bill
Ben Chandler a Health Care Hero Finalist
Tobacco-Free Schools Bill on Life Support
A Disturbing Trend: Bill Needed Step in Slowing Vaping Among Students
Kentucky Youth and E-Cigarettes: What You Should Know
Menthol Cigarette Ban Will Save Millions of Black Lives
Anti-Smoking Advocates Urge Action After School Anti-Smoking Bill Stalls in House
Committee Snuffs Out Bill That Would Raise Legal Age to Buy Tobacco Products
Edelen Endorses Smoking Ban in Most Kentucky Places
Could vaping hotline bill raise e-cigarette purchasing age to 21?
Tobacco-free school bill moves to full House; passage expected
Banning tobacco on school property is a good idea
Rise in teen use of e-cigarettes erases years of progress in curbing teen smoking
Did you know?
"Tobacco-21" Laws Reduce Tobacco Use
At least six states and 430 localities have raised the tobacco age from 18 to 21. Tobacco-21 laws can reduce tobacco use. That's because:
- Delaying the age when young people first experiment with or begin using tobacco reduces the risk that they will become addicted smokers.
- The ages of 18 to 21 are when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use.
- About 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21, and a
substantial number of smokers start even younger.
- Younger adolescents have a harder time passing themselves off as 21-year-olds than as 18-year-olds.
- It's a lot harder for teens under 18 to get 21-year-olds to purchase tobacco for them than it is for them to get 18-year-olds to do so. They typically don't run in the same circles.
- Raising the tobacco age to 21 reduces the likelihood that a high school student can legally purchase tobacco products for underage friends.
According to the Institute of Medicine, "... raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 [nationwide] will, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent, which translates into 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer,
and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost."
BUT, effective tobacco-21 laws must put the enforcement emphasis on the retailer, rather than the youth:
- Penalizing youth has not been proven an effective strategy for reducing youth smoking.
- Penalizing youth shifts the blame away from the tobacco industry's irresponsible marketing and retailers' irresponsible sales.
- Youth penalties are more difficult to systematically enforce than sanctions against retailers.
- The most successful youth access programs incorporate routine compliance checks of retailers and include significant sanctions against those who sell to underage youth.
Learn more about the effectiveness of Tobacco 21 laws from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids here, and about the importance of retailer sanctions over youth penalties here.
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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, email@example.com. It's FREE to join!