Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Nebraska. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in Missouri calls for the following three actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Advocate for increased funding for tobacco control;
- Advocate for increased tobacco taxes; and
- Advocate for laws to increase the tobacco sales age to 21.
During the 2017 legislative session the American Lung Association in Nebraska advocated for Legislative Bill 438, a bill that would have increased Nebraska's tobacco tax by $1.50 per pack. The Lung Association also educated senators on the importance of passing youth protection policies, specifically Legislative Bill 73. LB 73 would have changed the minimum sales age for tobacco products from age 18 to 21. Unfortunately, neither bill moved forward during the 2017 session.
The American Lung Association in Nebraska and coalition partners will continue to press for passage of a substantial cigarette tax increase and increased funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in the 2018 legislative session to prevent kids from starting to smoke and to motivate adult smokers to quit. The Lung Association will also continue our work defending our state law that protects all Nebraskans from the dangers of secondhand smoke, and continue to educate legislators about the benefits to increasing the tobacco sales age to 21.