Legislative highlights in the Midland States included:
Lung Force Turquoise Takeover event at Michigan House and Senate. American Lung Association staff pictured with Senator Curtis Hertel, Vice Chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee (left), and Mistie Bowser, Chair of West Michigan Regional Leadership Board, American Lung Association in Michigan (right).
Kentuckians saw a huge victory for lung health when Senate Bill 89 passed the House and Senate. This bill requires all major insurance carriers and Medicaid to cover FDA approved smoking cessation therapies without any barriers to access. The bill sponsor was Senator Julie Raque Adams, chairwoman of Senate Health and Family Services Committee and a huge tobacco control advocate. SB 89 was signed into law by Governor Bevin on March 21, 2017.
It's been a year of important firsts for Michiganders. Ann Arbor was the first city in Michigan to join the national Tobacco-21 movement. Tobacco-21 ordinances make it harder for teens to get their hands on cigarettes, which helps to prevent early tobacco addiction and save lives. Following Ann Arbor's lead, Genesee County (which includes the city of Flint) became the second community in Michigan to approve an ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco products to those 21 and over. A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers has also introduced legislation that would raise the state's legal smoking age to 21 and make other important changes to the state's tobacco laws.
When LUNG FORCE Heroes from across the country gathered in Washington DC on May 3, 2017 to advocate for lung cancer research funding, Senator Sherrod Brown was awarded the Lung Health Hero Award for his longtime support of lung health issues, and protecting health care for the Ohioans living with lung disease.
Tobacco-21 efforts continue across Ohio. In FY 17 the cities of Euclid and Powell became the seventh and eighth cities in Ohio to adopt a Tobacco-21 ordinance.
The American Lung Association in Tennessee is working hard to repeal preemption as it relates to smokefree air laws in public places which creates an option for local authorities to pass smokefree ordinances. Currently, when it comes to limiting exposure to secondhand smoke, local communities are specifically preempted from taking action.
In FY17 the American Lung Association also sought passage of The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act which would ensure that those fighting cancer in Tennessee won't have to fight for the medication their oncologist says they need. The out-of-pocket cost difference between IV and oral chemotherapy can restrict patient access to lifesaving therapies and lead patients to make treatment decisions based on cost rather than a doctor's recommendation.