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.