Lung Association Applauds Illinois Legislature for Passing Vital Tobacco, E-Cigarette Policy, and Healthcare Access

Legislators make Illinoisans health, lives a priority with passage of several bills late last night

The 102nd Illinois General Assembly passed several impactful bills at the end of the regular legislative session that will expand access to vital tobacco cessation services to low-income Illinoisans, curb youth e-cigarette use and improve healthcare access. 

The American Lung Association applauds the passage of these bills. Tobacco and e-cigarettes continue to take a toll on Illinoisans. We commend the sponsors of the following legislation for making the health and lives of Illinoisans a priority. The Lung Association urges Governor JB Pritzker to quickly sign them into law:  

•    The FY2022 budget provides $4.1 million for the Illinois Tobacco Quitline, $5M for local health department tobacco prevention programs and $1M to address asthma. These funds are critical to supporting tobacco users who want to quit, educating the public about the harms of tobacco use and improving health outcomes for people with asthma. 

•    SB 2294 (Sen. Ann Gillespie/Rep. Greg Harris) is the Medicaid omnibus that will require Illinois’ medical assistance program (Medicaid) to cover individual, group and phone tobacco cessation counseling. This measure will ensure that low-income Illinoisans have the same access to cessation services as individuals with private insurance. 

•    The Preventing Youth Vaping Act (Sen. Julie Morrison/Rep. Bob Morgan), an initiative of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, aims to limit youth e-cigarette access. The bill bars e-cigarette companies from using marketing tactics appealing to kids and misleading advertising in addition to giving criminal and civil enforcement authority to the IL Attorney General’s office. 

“While we have been successful at decreasing combustible cigarette usage among youth, e-cigarette usage among youth is an epidemic in Illinois and around the nation. In fact, youth who have never picked up a combustible cigarette are using e-cigarettes under the mistaken belief they are somehow safer,” Attorney General Raoul said. “This legislation is part of a comprehensive approach to protect youth from e-cigarettes, which can serve as a gateway to other tobacco products. I appreciate the input from advocates, the leadership of sponsors, and I urge the governor to sign this urgent measure into law.”

•    HB 1745 (Sen. Napoleon Harris III/Rep. Greg Harris) imposes requirements on health plans aimed at minimizing out-of-pocket coinsurance costs for patients. Health plans that include coinsurance — in which patients are responsible for paying a percentage of the drug’s price — are particularly challenging for patients with chronic diseases. 

•    The Prior Authorization Reform Act (Sen. Linda Holmes/ Rep. Greg Harris) passed with several provisions to eliminate healthcare inefficiencies, including: requiring payers to maintain and publicly post a list of services for which prior authorization is required, establishing important maximum timelines for urgent and non-urgent prior authorization requests, and defining qualifications of individuals designated to review and make prior authorization determinations. 

•    HB 3202 (Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton/ Rep. Joyce Mason) will require e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products to be included in K-12 health education programs. This legislation will help ensure that youth are aware of the harms of e-cigarette use at an early age.

•    Telehealth legislation (HB 3308 – Sen. Napoleon Harris, III/Rep. Thaddeus Jones) passed which protects a number of innovative telehealth approaches beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, including barring insurers from requiring patients to prove a hardship or access barrier in order to receive healthcare services through telehealth, prohibiting geographic or facility restrictions on telehealth services, and aligning telehealth coverage and payment with in-person care, making appropriate patient access to care the priority and removing harmful barriers that shift costs to the patient and healthcare professional. 

The Illinois House of Representatives also adopted HR 293 (Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Jr) a non-binding resolution that urges Governor Pritzker to join the 15 states and DC that have signed an MOU aiming for 30% of new medium and heavy duty vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 and 100% by 2050.  We urge Governor Pritzker to sign this MOU to reinforce his commitment to take aggressive action on transportation pollution. 

On behalf of the 1.5 million Illinois residents with lung disease, we thank members of the Illinois General Assembly for passing these measures that will save lives and improve the quality of life for the people of our state.  

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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