A BIG shout out to You’re the Cure advocates who supported important health legislation in Washington, DC this year. The final vote on the District’s 2015 budget on June 24th reminded volunteers why they advocate for health: it makes a difference! With this legislation DC made key steps towards creating a healthier city through tobacco prevention and nutrition policies.
As part of its 2015 Budget package, DC Council approved three pieces of legislation that will help prevent tobacco use in the district:
- The tax rate on “other tobacco Products” (OTP) was increased to the same rate as cigarettes. Taxing these products equally will discourage use, especially among youth, and will save lives.
- $2.75 million was allocated for tobacco prevention programs including the DC Quitline.
- The previously enacted Smoking Restriction Act makes smoking in DC parks, playgrounds, and bus stops illegal. The new budget includes $185,000 for no-smoking signs in designated places to promote this law.
DC Council also approved important legislation to promote healthier nutrition and wellness in the District:
- $3.3 million was budgeted for the implementation of the Healthy Tots Act. This establishes nutrition and physical activity standards for DC child development facilities and reimburses facilities for the additional cost of providing healthy foods.
- The Workplace Wellness Act establishes a wellness policy for all DC government agencies and requires that all food and beverage served by DC government (and 50 percent of food/beverage in vending machines in DC government buildings) meet federal nutrition standards.
The approval of these bills is a big deal to the advocates who helped to move them forward, and they understand the impact for others. You’re the Cure advocate Sara Beckwith stated “It can be challenging to find time in our busy lives to be physically active. The Workplace Wellness Act of 2014 will provide excellent opportunities for DC government employees to increase physical activity as well as make healthy food choices during the work day. It is very exciting to see DC Government working to achieve the American Heart Association's gold-level designation as a ‘Fit-Friendly’ workplace.”
Kudos also, to DC Council (pictured above), for their support of these significant policy advances.
The American Heart Association is a strong supporter of policies that improve wellness in Washington, DC. Learn more about advocating with You’re the Cure and make a real difference: http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/register.aspx