1. Increase the cigarette tax by at least $1.00 per pack, and match the tax on non-cigarette forms of tobacco like spit tobacco, cigars and hookah to the cigarette tax;
2. Increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs; and
3. Pass laws to increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 in additional cities in the state.
The American Lung Association in Michigan worked with a diverse group of stakeholders to help cities in Michigan consider passing laws to increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 often referred to as Tobacco 21 laws. In August 2016, Ann Arbor became the first city in Michigan to pass such a law.
Unfortunately, soon thereafter, a bill was introduced in the state legislature that would specifically prevent any other municipalities in Michigan from passing a similar law. The American Lung Association in Michigan and partners contacted legislators and were pleased that the legislation did not get a hearing and made no progress during the remainder of the 2016 legislative session.
The Lung Association is continuing to work with a coalition of groups to identify and assist local groups and organizations that are interested in moving forward with Tobacco 21 in cities in Michigan.
The Lung Association has also been working to improve coverage of tobacco cessation treatments, and was delighted that Michigan made positive progress on cessation coverage in 2016. The state of Michigan Medicaid program now covers all forms of tobacco cessation medication and nicotine replacement therapy, vital coverage since 40 percent of Michigan's Healthy Michigan Plan Medicaid recipients smoke, according to the Healthy Michigan Plan Health Risk Assessment.
As we look ahead to 2017, the American Lung Association in Michigan will continue to work with a broad coalition of stakeholders to advocate for raising the tax on tobacco products, fully fund evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and pass Tobacco 21 laws in Michigan's cities.