Author Archives: Tobacco Free Missouri

Celebrating Missouri’s Smokefree Cities

9/5/2013-Today Tobacco Free Missouri announced plans to celebrate Missouri’s smokefree cities at this year’s Missouri Municipal League Conference in Branson, Missouri.

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Excelsior Springs Goes Smoke-free

The Excelsior Springs City Council recently approved a new smoking ordinance that provides smoke-free air for all enclosed places of business and public areas in the city. Excelsior Springs is the 23rd jurisdiction in Missouri to adopt a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance.

Business owners and patrons will have a 30-day grace period to adjust to the new law. The statute also provides non-smokers with a ten-foot buffer from the main entrance of any of these businesses where smokers are not permitted to smoke.  This gives non-smokers the freedom to breathe in smoke-free air as they enter and exit these establishments. Read more.

ACS gets behind federal tobacco tax hike

04/05/2013 – John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has released a statement in support of the Obama Administration’s proposed tobacco tax hike.

“ACS CAN applauds President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products in the FY 2014 budget. A significant increase in the tobacco tax could have a dramatic impact on the public health of our nation by preventing disease and premature deaths and reducing health care costs associated with tobacco use.

“Raising the price of tobacco products is one of the most effective approaches to encouraging people to quit and preventing kids from picking up the deadly habit in the first place. In fact, research has consistently shown that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent. By discouraging tobacco use through increased prices, we can reduce the serious health care costs associated with using these deadly products, which total more than $96 billion a year.

“The current federal tobacco tax is just over $1, last increased by 61 cents in 2009. A 2012 report by the Congressional Budget Office projected that a 50-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax would generate $41 billion over 10 years.

“Tobacco use is the nation’s most preventable cause of death, yet more than 443,000 Americans will die from smoking-related diseases this year. By increasing the tobacco tax, our lawmakers have the ability to change the price of tobacco products and prevent more children from getting addicted.

“A federal tobacco tax increase would complement ongoing tobacco tax campaigns at the local and state level, which are critical to comprehensive tobacco control efforts across the country. ACS CAN will continue to urge state lawmakers to increase tobacco taxes to improve the health of residents in their state.

“ACS CAN commends the president for his efforts to improve public health, and encourages members of Congress to seize the opportunity to increase taxes on all tobacco products. We look forward to working with both the president and Congress to pass a meaningful, lifesaving tobacco tax increase this year.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Washington goes smokefree

01/29/2013-Tobacco Free Missouri congratulates Breathe Easy Washington on their hard work that led to a comprehensive, city-wide smokefree ordinance. The ordinance was passed by a unanimous city council vote January 22 and will take affect April 15.


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Tobacco Free Missouri’s Capitol Day Making News

01/24/2013-Tobacco Free Missouri’s Capitol Day was a rousing success, with over 200 students taking a stand against tobacco. The Missouri Times was on the scene to capture the excitement.

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Tobacco Free Missouri Holds Capitol Day to Stand Up Against Tobacco

students in capitol tell why they're standing up against tobacco

Missouri students stand up against tobacco in state capitol

01/22/2013-On January 23, members of Tobacco Free Missouri gathered along with other groups from across the state—including the American Heart Association and American Lung Association—in the Missouri State Capitol to educate legislators, Capitol staff, and visitors about the burden of tobacco in Missouri.

This Tobacco Free Missouri Capitol Day also featured youth from across the state displaying more than 2,000 messages depicting why they Stand Up Against Tobacco and a rally in the first floor Rotunda discussing the release of Tobacco Free Missouri’s Air Quality study and the American Lung Association’s Report Card giving our state an F for tobacco control efforts.

“Having nearly 100 advocates including young people attend this Capitol Day makes the statement that Missourians are passionate about their health and the right to breathe clean air,” said Dr. Everett, Board Chair of Tobacco Free Missouri. “Through prevention, cessation and policy efforts we look forward to continued progress to reduce the burden of tobacco in our state.”

Missouri has one of the highest adult smoking rates in the nation, and significant tobacco-related disparities in rural areas of the state. Despite these challenges, coupled with the lowest tobacco tax in the nation, strides are being made.  Currently, 21 communities have comprehensive smoke-free policies protecting all employees from secondhand smoke.  Advocates have worked to educate their communities about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure and to support policy change efforts. Missouri was also recently recognized for having the second-highest number of comprehensive smokefree ordinances pass in the country in 2012.


The Air We Breathe: Missouri Indoor Air Quality

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 10.58.28 AMOver the past three years Tobacco Free Missouri has conducted a series of air quality studies in 19 communities across the state. This report details the findings for indoor air quality in smoking and non-smoking public places before and after smokefree ordinances.

Missouri Communities Air Quality Study

Let Missouri Leaders Know Why You are Standing up against Tobacco

Notecard download for Show Me PALSShow Me PALS is sponsoring a project called “Stand Up Against Tobacco and let our voices be heard.” The organization is gathering notecards across the state and they want to hear from you. Download and print out a card then handwrite a note telling us why you are standing up against tobacco. Our goal is to get 1,180 note cards, to represent the number of lives lost annually in Missouri due to secondhand smoke. The cards will then be shared with local legislators on January 23 during Tobacco Free Missouri’s Capitol Day.

Tobacco costs Missouri lives and dollars. The facts are staggering. Each year:

  • 9,362 Missourians die from tobacco-related diseases
  • 18 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by Missouri youth
  • Each household spends an average of $565 in state and federal tax dollars to cover expenses to the public that have been caused by smoking
  • 8,600 Missouri youth will start smoking this year
  • 1,180 lives are lost due to secondhand smoke

“It’s bad enough that tobacco is killing thousands of smokers in our state, but the fact that 1,180 people in Missouri are dying every single year due to secondhand smoke is unbearable,” states Alex Higginbotham, vice president of Show Me PALS. “This is just one way for us to show our legislators that we’ve had enough. So stand with us this January and make sure our voices are heard.”

Send in your own card, or better yet, print out cards to bring into local coalition meetings with other health advocates or staff an event booth to ask community members to fill out a card.

Please mail in the completed notecards by December 15th to:

Joyce Lara
Youth Coordinator
Tobacco Free Missouri
1 Riverbend Place
Washington, MO 63090

For more information contact Joyce Lara, Tobacco Free Missouri, Youth Coordinator at 573-823-3809 or laraj@health.missouri.

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Smokefree Policies Can Improve Business

10/23/2012-According to a study recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokefree ordinances can improve the economies of Missouri cites. The study examined tax revenues from the hospitality industry, mainly bars and restaurants, before and after a smokefree ordinance was enacted. Researchers found that in eight cities, tax revenues actually increased, while in the other three, revenues remained constant. These results were not surprising, since numerous economic impact studies in other states have revealed similar findings. 

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Conway Students Push for Smokefree Campus

10/22/2012-In Conway, Missouri, adults can smoke inside school buildings during school events, but members of Smokebusters, a student-led group to reduce tobacco use, are working to clear the air. Recently they took the bold step of asking the school board to support a smokefree campus policy. Though the board voted to table the issue, these students are determined to continue the push for a healthier campus.
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