The next Connecticut legislative session is just three months away. We have been working to identify the top issues we plan to work on with lawmakers when they return. To be successful we will need your help!
The 2021 Policy Agenda
End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products: Recently the tobacco sales age was changed to 21. This was a great step in the right direction to help prevent another generation of addiction and tobacco-related disease. However, we know there are still 56,000 kids in CT under the age of 18, who will eventually die from their own tobacco use. Over 80% of teens start using tobacco products, like e-cigarettes because “they come in flavors that I like.” Candy crush, fruit punch, mint, and menthol are just a few examples of the flavors the tobacco industry is using to hook our youth. In recent years, according to the CDC’s 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use more than doubled among high school students and tripled among middle school students. Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products will help us keep our kids from starting a lifelong addiction to nicotine.
Fund CT’s Tobacco Control Efforts: Each year the state receives approximately $75 M combined from the tobacco master settlement and tobacco taxes. Since 2015, directs all of this revenue into the state’s general fund without providing any funding for tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts. We know when a state funds tobacco education, prevention, and cessation, tobacco use declines, in adults and youth. It is time to properly fund CT’s tobacco control efforts!
Increase CT’s Tobacco Taxes: Significant increases in the price of tobacco products helps lead to substantial reductions in tobacco use for both youth and adults. We will advocate increasing the state’s cigarette tax by at least $1.00 and also bring all other tobacco products up to the same taxable level. The revenue raised should be used to fund comprehensive tobacco control and prevention programs, cover the cost of cessation and improve access to healthcare.
Create a Statewide Stroke Registry: Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the state and a leading cause of disability. When it comes to stroke minutes matter. CT needs a stroke registry to collect comprehensive stroke data, support data analysis, and develop interventions to improve stroke care. Utilizing a registry helps hospitals develop quality improvement and monitor their progress.
Ensure Access to Safe Drinking Water in Schools: Adequate water consumption supports a range of positive health outcomes and positively impacts learning. Studies show water consumption helps students’ focus and academic performance. The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends kids ages 4-8 years consume at least 7 cups of water each day. Providing free, clean drinking water in schools is an important way to increase consumption.
We know school water fountains are some of the germiest things in a school. We will advocate ensuring all newly constructed schools, and schools undergoing major renovations, include water bottle filling stations. During these unprecedented times, water bottle filling stations may help to reduce the spread of germs and disease, while at the same time, encourage kids to drink more water and less sugary drinks.
Advocates Needed- No Experience Necessary!
This is an ambitious agenda, and we are going to need your help to be successful! In the coming weeks, you will have opportunities to take action and make a difference starting with our Recruitment-palooza. This will be a chance for you to help us build a stronger You’re the Cure by recruiting your friends and neighbors to help us move the issues forward with our lawmakers in Hartford!