1. Maintain current level of funding for the state's tobacco prevention and cessation program, including the Arkansas Quitline;
2. Strengthen and remove the current exemptions in the state's clean indoor air act to protect all workers in the state from secondhand smoke; and
3. Increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The American Lung Association in Arkansas continues to play an active role as a member of the STEP UP coalition, which is the lead coalition advocating for tobacco control policies in the state. Unfortunately, the Arkansas Legislature did not strengthen any tobacco prevention and control policies during the 2016 Fiscal Session in Arkansas. Along with other tobacco control partners, the Lung Association defended any action taken to reduce funding levels for the state's tobacco prevention and cessation program.
The American Lung Association in Arkansas continued to serve as the lead agency for the statewide tobacco control coalition in 2016. The coalition provides support for local tobacco control efforts including; smoke free municipal policies, smoke free/tobacco free workplace polices and tobacco free nursing home and long term care facilities. In partnership with tobacco prevention partners, the American Lung Association in Arkansas continued to educate about the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure and the need for comprehensive smokefree policies at the local level. The Lung Association congratulates the City of Wooster in protecting their residents and workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. The City of Helena-West Helena is to be commended for taking a bold step for public health in raising the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21.
In 2017, the American Lung Association in Arkansas will continue to educate state legislators about the benefits of tobacco control policies and programs, including a comprehensive statewide smokefree law and maintained funding for the tobacco control program. In order to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use in Arkansas, state legislators will need to recognize the health and economic burden of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke by enacting public health protections and investing in evidence-based tobacco prevention programs.