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!

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