1. Advocate for increased funding for tobacco control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended level;
2. Strengthen laws that regulate youth access to tobacco products; and
3. Increase taxes on other tobacco products.
During the 2016 legislative session, the legislature approved flat funding for the state tobacco prevention program ($946,761). However, the governor cut that program down to $847,041 through allotments. In 2017, the American Lung Association in Kansas will be advocating to restore state funding for tobacco prevention programs back to the previous amount.
The Lung Association teamed up with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other partners to promote Tobacco 21 in the Kansas City metro area. Tobacco 21 raises the legal age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21. Communities that have done this have seen significant reductions in youth smoking as a result. Evidence shows that young people who reach the age of 21 without smoking are very likely to never start. Unfortunately, kids who can purchase tobacco products at 18 are often the source for younger teen's tobacco products. Raising the age to 21 makes it more difficult for those under 18 to get their hands on tobacco products and increases the likelihood they will never start.
Sixteen communities in metropolitan Kansas City have adopted Tobacco 21 ordinances. This includes 10 communities on the Kansas side of the state line: Kansas City; Olathe; Leavenworth; Prairie Village; Lansing; Lenexa; Leawood; Bonner Springs; Iola and Overland Park. This represents more than 630,000 Kansans now living in Tobacco 21 communities with more on the way. The Lung Association has been asked to make our presentation to multiple other communities on both sides of the state line since adoption of these initial ordinances. The Lung Association projects that each year these policies will prevent approximately 1,000 new adult smokers, which translates to 333 saved lives and $5.8 million saved by private employers.
During the 2017 legislative session, the American Lung Association in Kansas will continue to focus on lung health and work with partners to advocate for increased funding and successful passage of youth access laws. We will advocate for essential tobacco prevention funding and comprehensive cessation coverage for those trying to quit using tobacco products.