Tag Archives: smokefree policy

Missouri’s Big Miss: New CDC Report Highlights State Lagging in Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Efforts

 January 30, 2014 – Columbia, MO – Missouri is falling behind when it comes to funding efforts to reduce tobacco use through proven tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs—2014, an evidence-based guide to help states plan and establish programs to reduce tobacco use, including recommended funding levels for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.

The CDC recommends that Missouri invest a minimum of $50 million on tobacco control programs.  Last year the state dedicated just $76,000 to help prevent young people from starting to use tobacco and help those already addicted to quit.  Meanwhile, Missourians’ addiction to nicotine is costing taxpayers $2.13 billion in annual health care costs related to smoking.  The state tobacco tax is the lowest in the nation at $0.17.

“Evidence continues to show that investing in tobacco prevention saves lives and money.  This is responsible fiscal policy that guarantees a positive return on investment,” said Traci Kennedy, director of Tobacco Free Missouri. “Helping current smokers quit and preventing young people from ever starting prepares Missouri for a brighter future by reducing the costs of death and disease that currently plague our state.”

Missouri has made positive steps recently in the fight against tobacco with 25 communities protecting employees from secondhand smoke in the workplace through comprehensive smokefree laws.  Yet, use of this toxic and addictive product is still the number one preventable cause of death in the country and in the state.  Research shows there are proven, effective ways to reduce tobacco’s toll by regularly and significantly increasing the price of tobacco, passing comprehensive smoke-free laws and adequately funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Investing in these programs can create real change in Missouri.  Fewer young people are picking up the habit with the high school and middle school smoking rates dropping 4.0% and 14.9% respectively between 2009 – 2013.  With 63% of current smokers intending to quit in the next six months, support for the Missouri Quitline including nicotine replacement therapy like patches and gum, would greatly serve the state.

Missouri Casinos Can Save Lives & Dollars

New Medical Study Finds Ambulance Rates Fall When Casinos Go Smokefree

Columbia, Mo.—A groundbreaking study has found that when casinos go smokefree, they reduce medical emergencies for employees and patrons and save taxpayer dollars.

In a new study, “Changes in Ambulance Calls After Implementation of a Smoke-Free Law and Its Extension to Casinos,” scientists from the University of California, San Francisco found a 20 percent reduction in ambulance calls to casinos after the implementation of Colorado’s smokefree policies.

Colorado implemented a smokefree policy in 2006 making all workplaces and public places except casinos smokefree. During that time ambulance calls originating from everywhere but casinos dropped 20 percent; calls from casinos did not change. In 2008, when the Colorado policy was extended to include casinos, ambulance calls originating from casinos dropped by 20 percent immediately following implementation.

“This study again confirms prior medical findings that the dangers of secondhand smoke are very real; there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Tobacco Free Missouri Executive Director Traci Kennedy. “This study clearly shows that smokefree policies work. Casino, bar, restaurant and other hospitality employees face serious health risks when there are no smokefree policies in place. Exempting casinos from these policies only means more Missourians will continue to face preventable medical emergencies and limited taxpayers’ dollars will continue to be stretched.”

Currently, only 20 states include state-regulated commercial casinos in their smokefree workplace laws. However, nearly 90 percent of casino workers are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their workplaces.

Each year, smoking causes nearly six million tobacco-related deaths worldwide. While tobacco use in Missouri is decreasing, it remains a problem. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, in 2011, a quarter of Missouri adults smoked, the ninth highest rate in the country. An estimated 1,150 Missourians are killed due to secondhand smoke each year.