The 2015 Kansas legislative session recently came to an end after weeks of long and contentious debate. Thank you to our You’re the Cure advocates whose countless letters of support, e-mails, phone calls and visits with lawmakers were vital in helping us maintain heart healthy policies in Kansas! Below is a legislative wrap-up outlining all of the progress we made with your help.
- The Kansas Legislature approved a 50-cent increase to the state’s tobacco tax.
- The new tax on a pack of cigarettes will be $1.29.
- This is the 30th highest in the nation and roughly, 25¢ below the national average.
- The tax will raise an estimated $40 million in additional revenue for Kansas while reducing smoking rates by nearly 7%.
- 8,400 Kansans under the age of 18 will avoid becoming adult smokers.
- 8,600 adult smokers would quit smoking with this increase.
- American Heart Association advocated for additional prevention funding. We believe a stronger foundation was established and will continue to build on these efforts next session.
- Less than $1 million is currently allocated for prevention from the state.
- The CDC recommends Kansas spend $27.9 million on a program modeled after the best practices for prevention and cessation initiatives.
- Adequately funding tobacco prevention programs in Kansas is critical to long-term, sustained reductions in tobaccos usage.
- Lawmakers approved several new provisions regarding electronic cigarettes.
- Approved language establishes a tax on the nicotine-based refills for e-cigarettes.
- The AHA is cautious of the language that could reduce future FDA regulations of e-cigarettes that is being developed nationally.
- There’s still a lot unknown about long-term health implications of e-cigarettes and their efficacy as a cessation tool.
- With so much unknown about the product it is dangerous to pass legislation, as Kansas did, without formal discussions and hearings.
Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening (Pulse Ox)
- A bill establishing standards for CCHD screening using pulse oximetry did not receive a hearing in the committee this year.
- The Kansas Health Department and Environment announced all Kansas newborns are being screened.
- The AHA is pleased that all newborns are reportedly being screened but we are concerned that compliance is voluntary. We will continue to push for legislation or administrative rules to ensure newborns are screened using pulse oximetry testing with recommended standards.
Thank YOU! Please stay tuned to your e-mails on how you can help us with our life-saving mission. As always, thank you for everything you do. We appreciate your advocacy efforts and support of the American Heart Association!