Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Idaho. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in Idaho calls for the following actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Raise the legal sales age for tobacco products to 21;
- Pass comprehensive local and statewide smokefree air laws; and
- Raise cigarette and tobacco taxes.
The 2017 legislative session saw continuing funding for the American Lung Association in Idaho's youth tobacco control programs with funding of $229,000 allocated for youth tobacco education, prevention, cessation, and youth advocacy programs. In total, over $4.7 million was allocated to tobacco prevention and cessation initiatives through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or other entities from the Idaho Millennium Fund. The Idaho Millennium Fund is where Idaho's Master Settlement Agreement dollars are directed.
The effort to raise Idaho's legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 was also introduced during the 2017 legislative session and was narrowly defeated in the Senate State Affairs Committee.
As a member of the Smoke Free Idaho coalition, the American Lung Association in Idaho continues to advocate for the adoption of local smokefree ordinances throughout the state. More progress needs to be made at passing local smokefree ordinances before a statewide law is pursued.
The American Lung Association in Idaho will continue working to increase appropriations for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, to raise the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21, to expand local smokefree ordinances, and to support appropriate efforts to increase tobacco taxes in 2018.