1. Increase state funding for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, including funding the NH Tobacco Quitline;
2. Prevent rollbacks to New Hampshire tobacco control laws, including efforts to redefine electronic cigarettes as "vapor products" and weaken smokefree air laws; and
3. Introduce legislation to raise the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21.
The American Lung Association in New Hampshire and the Tobacco Free New Hampshire Network determined that it will continue to be important to educate and build relationships with public health leaders and legislators about the burden of tobacco in New Hampshire and to continue to work to increase funding to adequate levels for tobacco prevention and control in New Hampshire.
During the 2016 legislative session, working with network partners, we were successful in defeating two bills that would have made substantial rollbacks to New Hampshire's tobacco control efforts. In the closing days of the legislative session a bill originally dealing with state retiree health insurance was used as a vehicle to allow cigar bars in New Hampshire to serve food - essentially reverting back to the days of smoking in restaurants. The Lung Association led our partners in successfully urging Governor Hassan to veto this legislation and prevent the undermining of New Hampshire's smokefree law.
Another battle continued through the entire session as the e-cigarette community attempted to remove their products from the statute definition of "tobacco," creating a new class of "vapor products." Working with a newly identified champion on the Commerce Committee we were able to prevent this language from advancing during the 2016 legislative session, and now are preparing for its return in 2017.
In the 2017 legislative session, the American Lung Association in New Hampshire will continue to work to with partners and the new legislature and Governor to increase funding for the New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Additionally, both of the negative bills mentioned above are anticipated to surface again, so we will be playing defense to ensure that they do not advance. Lastly, we anticipate introducing legislation to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco products in New Hampshire to 21.