Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Louisiana. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in Louisiana calls for the following actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Strengthen the existing statewide smokefree law to include bar and casino worker protections;
- Ensure smokefree protections for all bars and casino workers in municipalities throughout Louisiana; and
- Sustain tobacco prevention and cessation funding.
In follow-up to House Bill 881, House Continuing Resolution 76 was introduced by Representative Miller to allow for further evaluation of tobacco-related illnesses resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. The Study Committee is composed of 22 representatives from state agencies, public health institutions, nonprofit organizations and the business community impacted by tobacco use in Louisiana. The Committee will meet to review the literature on tobacco use and impact of secondhand smoke exposure in Louisiana with a final report submitted to the Legislature in early 2019.
Despite the lack of support for a statewide smokefree law, there is support within local municipalities for public health protections from secondhand smoke. The East Baton Rouge Parish implemented an ordinance on June 1, 2018 to protect all residents and workers in the city, including all bar and casino workers, from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure. The City of Abbeville and the Town of Roseland have also passed and implemented comprehensive smokefree air protections for all workers and residents.
Louisiana has had significant success with cessation efforts through Quit with Us, LA and the Smoking Cessation Trust. Quit with Us, LA is the free statewide cessation program offering telephone and online services to Louisiana residents age 13 and older who are ready to quit within the next 30 days. The Smoking Cessation Trust ("SCT") is the result of a 2011 court judgment in a class action lawsuit that established a 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit all Louisiana residents who smoked a cigarette before September 1, 1988. The program began registering eligible recipients in 2012 and, to date, has registered nearly 100,000 Louisiana citizens. SCT members receive no cost cessation services, including medications, individual and group cessation counseling or telephone quit-line support.
In 2019, the American Lung Association in Louisiana will join our tobacco control partners to educate state legislators about the health and economic benefits of strong tobacco control policies, including a comprehensive statewide smokefree air law. The Lung Association will also continue to work with partners in the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Louisiana to ensure successful passage and preservation of comprehensive local smokefree ordinances
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