As the weather starts to cool down here in the Pacific Northwest, the advocacy team at the American Heart Association is in full campaign planning mode! While there are still a lot of unknowns about the 2024 legislative session (or if there will even be one given the pending lawsuits around the eligibility to rerun for those Senators that passed 10 unexcused absences in the walk-out last session), but we are full steam ahead in planning!
hero_image_alt_text===A picture of the state capitol building in Salem.
thumbnail_alt_text===A picture of the state capitol building in Salem.
In pursuit of the American Heart Associations mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, the advocacy department will be pursuing policies to improve the health of Oregonians in several of our policy portfolios. Read on for a little preview of the areas we will be working in. Not all these policies will come to fruition in 2024, but we remain committed to seeing these changes no matter how long it takes.
Tobacco Flavor Restrictions
Nearly all middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes use flavored products. By masking the harshness and soothing the irritation caused by tobacco smoke, flavors make it easier for beginners – primarily kids – to experiment with the product and ultimately become addicted. We will continue to advocate for the restriction of the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol and mint to protect Oregon youth from a lifetime of addiction.
Cardiac Emergency Response Plans for Oregon Schools
Only 40% of people who experience a cardiac arrest survive. Cardiac Emergency Response Plans ensure that schools have planned and implemented placement of AEDs, training of staff, and emergency drills. Schools will be better equipped to respond to an emergency and save a life with plans in place.
Time Sensitive Emergency Policies
Improving outcomes of patients experiencing time sensitive emergencies, like heart attack and stroke, through registries, facility designations for hospitals and EMS Triage, transfer and transport plans. This will ensure that no matter where in Oregon someone experiences a time- sensitive emergency they receive the same quality of care.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Incentives:
Individuals with low incomes and those dealing with food insecurity can be especially at risk for poor nutrition, due to additional factors associated with inadequate household resources. SNAP Incentive programs, including Produce Prescription Programs and SNAP Nutrition Incentives, have become increasingly powerful and cost -effective interventions to prevent and treat diet-related chronic conditions, improve household food security, and address health disparities.
Healthy School Meals for All:
Healthy school meals for all benefit students’ health and food security. School meals provide needed nutrients: students who eat school lunches tend to take in more whole grains, vegetables, and dairy and fewer refined sugars and empty calories than those who bring their lunches from home. Food insufficiency also dropped by 14% among students who participated in the National School Lunch Program’s free or reduced-priced lunch meals. Healthy school meals benefit students’ academics, too. When students have more nutritious diets, they tend to perform better and pay more attention in school. We are advocating for all students to have access to no-cost, healthy meals.
We all want and deserve to live in safe, healthy communities. Complete streets policies make communities and neighborhoods more livable by ensuring all people can get safely to where they need to go – work, school, the library, grocery stores, or parks. The Portland Metro area passed a Vision Zero proclamation in 2015, but since then instead of declining, pedestrian deaths have increased and with the 2025 statewide transportation package on the horizon, the time is now to pass additional policy to improve the ability to walk and bike safely.