Friday, April 22, 2011

Support for ITPC Across Indiana

A number of newspapers have come out in support of maintaining ITPC's funding, realizing that this last minute attack by the Senate will do nothing but harm to the Agency and all Hoosiers.

Matthew Tully has a great article in today's Star in which he calls out Senator Kenley.
The Greenfield Daily Report wrote in support of ITPC.
Here is an article in the Journal Review out of Crawfordsville.
The IBJ covered the budget cut on Wednesday.
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette covers the cuts today.
Leo Morris of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel called the Senate "Swindling Swine" for their last minute actions against ITPC.

There might be some misconceptions about ITPC's funding, they do not get tax dollars.
The money that ITPC gets is from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the states and the tobacco industry. This year Indiana is going to get $130 million from this settlement, we are only asking that $9 million goes to the one agency dedicated to reducing smoking rates and preventing youth from starting smoking; ITPC.

ITPC has been in existence since 2002 and has proven to be effective in reducing smoking rates in both adults and youth. The agency funds the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-Quit-Now) which offers free counselling to anyone who wants to quit smoking. The agency also funds tobacco prevention and advocacy programs in virtually every county in Indiana.

Smoking is the number one preventable killer in the United States and secondhand smoke is the third. Every year smoking kills 10,000 Hoosiers and costs the state $2 billion in in preventable health care costs. Smoking also kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs and fires combined. So spending $9 million a year to fund an Agency dedicated to reducing costs and saving lives in Indiana is a small sum in the big scheme of things.

Our only hope is that in conference committee the Agency's funding will be restored and they will be allowed to remain as an independent agency. The actions by the Senate are those of only a few individuals and the tobacco lobbyist who are against ITPC, this is not what the state needs or wants to happen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Senate's hit job on tobacco prevention

Some in the Senate have painted a bull’s eye on Indiana’s highly successful tobacco prevention program… again! House Bill 1001 – the budget bill, which passed out of the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday– puts a clear target on the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC) with a nearly 50% cut in funding and the dismantling of the program as we know it.

The Senate not only leaves Indiana's tobacco prevention efforts severely underfunded, but it sets back tobacco prevention efforts indefinitely by abolishing ITPC's independent, volunteer, expert Executive Board. Instead of an independent board charting the course of this very successful program, they propose ISDH take over. And we all know why, they want ITPC to fail.

These cuts and this attempted hit job on ITPC appears to be a deliberate effort of the Senate committee leadership to rollback Indiana's progress on tobacco in Indiana, an outcome that would have a catastrophic impact on Hoosier health.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Write your Senators in the next 24 hours and tell them to stand up for ITPC.

Ask policymakers to stand with the Governor in supporting $9.23 million per year for ITPC because: 1) there remains a great need for tobacco prevention and cessation services; 2) ITPC has had great success in meeting that need; and 3) ITPC’s work will pay dividends (in lives and taxpayer dollars) to Hoosiers over time.

Don’t stand by silently as this program goes under attack. Your Senator needs to hear from you in the next 24 hours!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Editorials on Making Indiana Smokefree

In response to HB 1018, the smokefree air bill, not being heard in the Senate Public Policy committee last week there have been quite a few editorials expressing frustration with this decision. The Indianapolis Star continues to support making Indiana smokefree, here is an editorial they released last week: There is an especially good line at the end of the editorial; "They should remind their elected servants that, for 1,000 Hoosiers, there won't be a next year." There have also been a couple letters to the editor in the Star expressing frustration that Indiana is once again behind the rest of the nation in protecting it's workers from secondhand smoke. How much more proof do legislators need on smoking? Embarrassed to live in state that lacks smoke-free law For more editorials visit the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air website.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No Progress Made in Indiana

Once again the Indiana General Assembly failed to protect thousands of Hoosiers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. We, members of the Smoke Free Indy coalition, can all understand how important it is to pass a good bill. Six years ago, when the Indianapolis law was passed, we didn’t expect we would still be stuck with that law today. Passing HB 1018, in the form that it was in yesterday, would have meant passing one of the worst laws in the nation. We know Indiana is better than this, and we WILL eventually pass a good law that ensures that no one will have to be exposed to secondhand smoke just to earn a paycheck. Passing a better law in Indy will likely make the difference for the state. An editorial published today on Indianapolis Star said it best: “Hoosiers deserve better than HB 1018. If they can't have a law that's up to the task this year, they're better off waiting. They should remind their elected servants that, for 1,000 Hoosiers, there won't be a next year.”