1. Maintain or increase funding for state's tobacco prevention and control program;
2. Protect New Mexicans from secondhand smoke, including in multi-unit housing; and
3. Raise the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products including snuff, chew and cigarillos.
The American Lung Association in New Mexico provides leadership in convening partners and guiding public policy efforts to continue the state's success in reducing the impact of tobacco among New Mexicans. Together with our partners, the American Lung Association in New Mexico works to ensure tobacco control and prevention remains a priority for state legislators and local decision makers.
In 2016, our focus was to continue to educate legislators, legislative staff, and the general public about smoking and the importance of providing tobacco cessation programs for adults and youth, and the dangers of secondhand smoke. During the legislative session the Lung Association along with our partners were unsuccessful in passing a $1.00 per pack cigarette tax that would have increased the tax to $2.66 per pack. The legislation, which included parity between the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products would have generated $33 million in new revenue for the state of New Mexico.
Also during the 2016 legislative session, funding for the New Mexico Tobacco Use Prevention and Control program was cut by $246,000 for fiscal year 2017.
The American Lung Association in New Mexico's Smoke-Free @ Home program provides education and support to property managers and owners on the economic and health benefits of implementing smokefree policies in multi-unit housing. In 2016, the Lung Association continues to help public and affordable housing implement smokefree policies building on our efforts from previous years.
Moving forward in 2017, the American Lung Association in New Mexico will once again make it a priority to educate our legislature and communities about the dangers of tobacco use and the importance of a well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation program as well as oppose any additional cuts. A $1.00 cigarette tax increase as well as tax parity between cigarettes and other tobacco products could provide additional revenue for the tobacco prevention and cessation program to avoid further cuts, and is something the Lung Association will continue advocating for.
Finally, the Lung Association will continue its focus on creating smokefree multi-unit housing in 2017. It is our goal to provide all New Mexicans with a safe and healthy living environment, free from the dangers of secondhand smoke.