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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Kansas. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Kansas' elected officials:

  1. Increase funding for tobacco prevention to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended levels;
  2. Pass local or state laws raising the tobacco sales age to 21; and
  3. Increase taxes on tobacco products by significant amounts.
During the 2018 legislative session, the American Lung Association in Kansas partnered with The Dollars and Sense 4 Kansas coalition to advocate for a $1.50 per pack increase in the tax on cigarettes and an equal tax on other tobacco products. These measures would have generated $5 million of new revenue devoted to tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. In addition to generating $80-$110 million in new annual revenue (that can fund essential state investments like KanCare Expansion), this tax is projected to prevent 10,200 premature smoking-caused deaths and prevent 16,200 Kansas kids from ever becoming adult smokers. This is a proven way to save lives that has strong support from Kansas voters across the political spectrum. Unfortunately, no action was taken during the 2018 legislative session. The American Lung Association in Kansas will continue to advocate for an increase in the 2019 legislative session.

The Lung Association teamed up with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other partners to promote Tobacco 21 in the Kansas City metro area in 2018. Tobacco 21 raises the legal age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21. Thirty-three communities in the greater metropolitan Kansas City area have adopted Tobacco 21 ordinances, including 23 communities in Kansas and ten communities in Missouri.

This represents more than 1.5 million residents of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area now living in Tobacco 21 communities with more on the way. The Lung Association has been asked to make presentations on Tobacco 21 to multiple other communities in Kansas and Missouri since adoption of these initial ordinances.

The Lung Association received funding to work on tobacco point of sale issues in the Kansas City area. The grant rallies partners, advocates and supporters to implement policies in Jackson County, Missouri and Johnson County, Kansas to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products (i.e. candy, menthol, etc.) to adult-only tobacco stores. During year one of the grant, youth and community engagement events were held to educate the community on best practices for these youth protection measures.

During the 2019 legislative session, the American Lung Association in Kansas will continue to focus on lung health and work with partners to push for increased tobacco taxes and funding for tobacco control programs. The Lung Association will also continue to advocate for passage of Tobacco 21 laws at the local and statewide levels

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