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Oregon 2022 Legislative Session Update

In a few short weeks, the 2022 Oregon legislative session will be upon us. As you may remember, since it is an even numbered year, this year’s session is a short session, just 35 days in length. Given the drastic rise in COVID cases in Oregon due to Omicron, in addition to extensive construction going on at the Capitol building, much of our work will be done virtually again. Although the Capitol building is open to the public, due to a lack of hearing rooms from the construction and concerns about the ability to follow public health recommendations for physical distancing all hearings will he held virtually, and only essential staff will be in the building.

Given these circumstances the American Heart Association will only be working and providing comment on a couple policies this short session. As such, you may not here from us too much as we use this time to focus on some local work we have been pushing for in the interim as we ramp up for long 2023 legislative session.

For those of you that reside in Multnomah and Washington Counties, please keep an eye out for action alerts as our tobacco flavor restrictions campaigns heat up. And please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about policy you hear about and want to know more about the American Heart Associations stance on.

From one advocate to another, thank you for your support and stay safe.

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GUEST VLOG: Abby & Cole Talk Vaping and Movies

Have you met Cole? Well, we'd like to introduce you to this phenomenal young man. This month our AHA advocacy vlogger Abby Davis interviews high school senior, Cole Kosch in a peer-to-peer conversation which sheds light on the ongoing vaping epidemic by giving us insight into the challenges facing young people in Arkansas and beyond.

 

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GUEST VLOG: Abby & Cole Talk Vaping and Movies

Have you met Cole? Well, we'd like to introduce you to this phenomenal young man. This month our AHA advocacy vlogger Abby Davis interviews high school senior, Cole Kosch from Austin in a peer-to-peer conversation which sheds light on the ongoing vaping epidemic by giving us insight into the challenges facing young people in Texas and beyond.

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A package of cigarettes with money rolled up inside.

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding in Washington and Why We Care

In 2000, the Washington legislature allocated $100 million out of the first Master Settlement payment of $320 million to tobacco control and the comprehensive tobacco control program. The program was launched late that same year with an annual budget of $15 million. Washington emerged as a national leader in tobacco prevention with a robust, comprehensive tobacco prevention program. Sadly, today we lead with different headlines as Washington has one of the lowest funding levels for these programs in the country AND tobacco use remains Washington’s number one cause of preventable death.

How did we get here? Washington once had a proven-effective tobacco prevention program shown to save $5 in healthcare costs for every $1 invested. During the economic downturn in 2008, public officials had to make tough decisions and chose to divert almost all of the program’s funding to the general fund. Since then, these community-based prevention programs have been unable to provide critical services and it has been an uphill battle to restore funding for them. In 2014, the state invested $1 million in the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, which was the first investment we had seen in years. While we knew it wasn’t enough, we were happy to see something allocated for these vital programs. We had hoped that would be the first step in restoring funding to adequate levels but that has not come to be. We will continue to work for increases in funding during the 2022 legislative session.

One meaningful way to increase funding for prevention and cessation programs is to regulate e-cigarette/vape devices the same way that traditional tobacco is treated, particularly in how these products are taxed. In 2019, Washington passed an e-cigarette tax preferred by the tobacco industry and not one designed to address increased use of e-cigarettes in our communities, especially among young people. In 2022, we will be supporting legislation to reform the e-cigarette/vapor tax to be at parity with other tobacco products in the market.  We also will advocate for portions of the vapor tax revenue to be dedicated to the tobacco prevention and cessation programs across Washington State.

You may wonder just how bad is the problem of new tobacco addiction in our state? Well, it’s pretty bad and is getting worse: the most recent data tells us that 21.2% of high schoolers use e-cigarettes on a regular basis, much higher than the percentage who use traditional tobacco (5%). Just as we were making progress against the use of traditional tobacco, e-cigarettes have successfully tapped into the youth market with enticing flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy. If we don’t do something we will continue to see the numbers of new-users rise, which is why it is crucial we counter these trends by properly funding community-based prevention programs and low-barrier cessation support services.

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kids on campus

It's Time to #NixtheNext, Kentucky.

It's 2022 and Big Tobacco is still marketing to our kids. 

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Join Us--From Wherever You Are--for Indiana Virtual Day of Action!

Join us for a few minutes, make a difference for a lifetime--right from your home, office or wherever you are!

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TN State Cap

Lawmakers are Back - What You Can Expect in 2022 Webinar

Welcome to 2022! Lawmakers are convening for the 2022 Legislative Session.  As you know session is a busy time and we will be working with lawmakers to support policies that will build a healthier Tennessee.

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South Carolina state capitol

The Heart of Legislative Session Webinar

Legislative Session is underway, and we are working with lawmakers to support policies that will build a healthier South Carolina.  We invite you to join us for a special half-hour webinar to hear about what is happening at the Legislature.

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Work Working Out into Your Work Day

Most of us struggle to find time to fit working out into our work day. By the time we log off, clock out or commute home, mustering the energy to be active can seem daunting. 

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Council Can't Override Mayor Veto

The efforts to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Denver to protect youth and other communities targeted by the tobacco companies had a setback.

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