Thursday, February 24, 2011

Legislative Update

HB 1018, the smokefree air bill, has been sent to the Senate and assigned to the Committee on Public Policy. The Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air is hopeful that the amendments added in the House will be removed in the Senate, i.e. exemptions for bars, private clubs, nursing homes, tobacco stores and casinos.

HB 1233, has language that would remove the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency Executive Board, this bill is in the House for 2nd reading. It is still too early to determine what this bill will mean for tobacco funding in Indiana. Last year there was a bill introduced to eliminate the Board and merge staff with ISDH, there is a good possibility that this bill is being setup to have the same language. It is important to maintain tobacco control funding in Indiana to combat the $426 million spent by tobacco companies.

HB 1001, the budget bill, has the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency in at $9.2 million. But there are efforts to reduce funding by an additional million dollars which is a bigger reduction than what is proposed for other state agencies.

HB 1405, is also making its way from the House to the Senate, this bill will bring Indiana Code up-to-date with the Federal Legislation passed in 2009 that regulates the tobacco industry.

We will keep you updated on these bills as they move through the House and Senate.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cigarette Sales to Minors Down

Good news from the Indiana Tobacco Retailer Inspection Program, cigarette sales to minor has reached a new low, only 3.8% of retailers sold cigarettes to minors in 2010. At one point 40% of retailers in Indiana sold cigarettes to minors. This reduction is a great success for the Indiana State Excise Police and Indiana as a whole. If a retailer does not sell tobacco to a minor than that minor is less likely to become a lifetime smoker that negatively impacts their own health and the health care system as a whole.

Yesterday, Dr. Richard Feldman had a great editorial on the impact of limited tobacco funding in Indiana. Indiana's current funding for tobacco prevention is $9.2 million, far less than the CDC recommended level of $78.8 million a year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Michigan Not Negatively Impacted By Going Smoke Free

In December, the Michigan Department of Treasury released a report, The Early Impact of Michigan's Smoking Ban, finding that the statewide smoke free air law has not made an impact on the states restaurant and bar industry. This study mirrors the many other reports from cities and states around that nation that have also found that going smoke free does not hurt bar and restaurant business and in some cases can actually increase sales.

Hopefully the state legislature will use this new data as reasoning to pass a statewide smoke free air law that covers all businesses including bars.