Legislative Agenda 2021:
Local Control of Tobacco Product Marketing, Sales
The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow will prioritize the expansion of local control over tobacco marketing and sales in Kentucky during the short General Assembly session in 2021. A bill that is supported by the Coalition will give Kentucky cities and counties the right to govern how tobacco products are sold in their communities.
"Expanded local control over tobacco products is shown to improve community health and reduce both public and private health care costs," said Ben Chandler, chair of the Coalition. "But the biggest factor in getting this bill passed will be local community voices. Legislators need to know this is important to their constituents."
To that end, the Coalition is providing a short white paper on local tobacco control for local elected officials, Coalition members and partners, and other health advocates. The paper explains how Big Tobacco lobbied state legislatures in the 1980s and 1990s to take away the rights of cities and counties to govern tobacco products within their communities. As of June 2019, 32 states including Kentucky still have at least one law preempting local tobacco control measures.
"Let's repeal that law and give Kentucky cities and towns more ability to improve the health of their people," Chandler said.
Smoking Prevention and Cessation
Coalition advocates also will be talking with legislators in 2021 about restoring funding for Kentucky's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. The program is highly cost-effective, and even more important given research showing a connection between smoking and COVID-19 severity. The program took a 40 percent cut in the fiscal 2021 budget, from the FY 2020 level of $3.3 million to $2 million this year. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry spends more than $270 million a year marketing its products in Kentucky. That means tobacco companies outspent our prevention and cessation efforts by 82 to one in 2020.
The Coalition had sought a significant increase in 2021-2022 funding for the prevention and cessation program in January and February. It became clear in March, however, that COVID-19 would wreak havoc with the state's financial situation. Therefore, for the 2022 budget year, the Coalition supports a restoration of funding to the 2020 levels, rather than an increase. See more here.
Kentucky Partner News/Events
Policy Brief: COVID-19 and Tobacco Use
The Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy offers policy recommendations in a new brief on the implications of COVID-19 for tobacco use and exposure. smoking and vaping a potential risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. According to the brief, "the CDC has found that 78% of people requiring intensive care for COVID-19 had one underlying health condition, which included current or former smoking status. Smokers have a higher risk of experiencing life-threatening symptoms if they contract the virus."
KCSP recommends the following action steps:
Promote effective tobacco treatment (e.g., smokefree.gov )
Keep the air clean in your home and car by smoking or vaping tobacco and/or marijuana outside at least 20 feet from entryways, windows, and vents to avoid exposure.
Enact or strengthen local smoke-free policies to be comprehensive, covering all workplaces and public places and including e-cigarettes so that everyone can breathe clean air when back at work.
Heart Assn Funds Youth E-Cigarette Study
The American Heart Association is providing nearly $17 million in funding for a two-year study on the health impacts of e-cigarette use by youth and young adults. The University of Louisville Envirome Institute will focus on the youth piece of the research, including new approaches to helping youth quit. See story.
Two KY Students Named National Anti-Tobacco Ambassadors
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) has named Abigail Bruns of Lakeside Park and Kendall Robinson of Harrodsburg as National Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors for their leadership in fighting tobacco use in their communities. The students will work with CTFK to advocate for effective policies to reduce youth tobacco use at the federal, state, and local levels. These policies include ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes that are addicting a new generation of kids. See story.
FDA Tells 10 Companies to Pull Flavored E-Cigs Marketed to Youth
Less than a week after the maker of one of the most popular flavored e-cigarettes among youth announced it was ceasing U.S. sales of its Puff bar, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told Cool Clouds Distribution Inc. and nine other companies to pull their products because they were being marketed illegally to youth. The Puff bar and similar devices had escaped the FDA's flavored e-cig ban, which went into effect earlier this year and which exempted disposable products.
"The problem is that, the very day the FDA issued its warning letters, the company was offering a new product called 'Puff Flow' on its website and we were able to order it," said Ben Chandler. "These products pop up faster than the FDA can review them. That's going to continue to happen without a complete flavored e-cigarette ban."
As of July 22, the Puff Flow was still marketed on the company's website, but all flavors were marked "sold out." The product appeared to be available on other e-cigarette vendors' websites, however.
Bluetooth E-Cigs Raise Health, Privacy Concerns
Several organizations have raised health and privacy concerns about a bluetooth enabled heat-not-burn e-cigarette called IQOS 3. In a letter to the FDA, they said, "The addition of Bluetooth technology to tobacco products, which would give tobacco companies access to user data, facilitate social interactions, and add game features is just another industry 'innovation' likely to attract yet more young people to highly addictive tobacco products, with little public health benefit."
The IQOS 3, manufactured by Philip Morris, is not yet sold in the United States, but the company has submitted an application to the FDA to do so. The American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and American Academy of Pediatrics joined in signing the July 16 letter to the FDA regarding Philip Morris' pending application.
Other National News:
1 in 3 Young Adults Vulnerable to Severe COVID-19, and Smoking Plays a Big Part
Former Smokers Who Used E-Cigs to Quit Have Significantly Higher Risk of Relapse
Tobacco Control Groups Sue FDA For Inaction On Menthol Cigarettes
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, email@example.com. It's FREE to join!