Feb 13

Watch Live Here: Nebraska Legislature Committee Hears Two Tobacco-Tax Related Measures

Headline , Legislation , Policy , Tobacco

The Nebraska Legislature’s Revenue Committee on Thursday will consider two measures addressing taxing of tobacco products.

Sen. Sue Crawford introduced LB1117, which would increase the tax in cigarettes from 64 cents per pack to $2.14 per pack. Also, it would:

  • Increase the tax on snuff from 44 cents per ounce to $1 per ounce. Increase the tax on tobacco products other than snuff from 20 percent of wholesale to 45 percent of wholesale.
  • Increase the cigarette tax revenue designated for the General Fund from 49 cents to $1.99 per pack.
  • Increase the allocation of cigarette tax revenue to the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund from $1.2 million to $2.5 million.

Download a bill summary and analysis of LB1117 here.

Another measure, LB1087, also will be heard by the Revenue Committee Thursday.

LB 1087, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne, changes the tax rate on cigars, which is currently 20 percent of the wholesale price. It would impose a 50-cent cap on the cigar tax. If it passes, it would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018.

Download a bill summary and analysis of LB1087 here.

Both bills are scheduled for hearing before the Revenue Committee Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. LB1117 is scheduled for second on the agenda and LB1087 is scheduled for third on the agenda.

Watch the hearing live here.

Watch it live here.

Download a bill summary and analysis here.



Feb 13

Watch Live Here: LB1062 State intent relating to appropriations for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program


The Nebraska Legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Thursday will consider a measure to add funding to the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

Sen. Mike McDonnell introduced the bill, which would appropriate an additional $2.4 million for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program from the Nebraska Health Care Cash FundFor for FY2018-2019. This funding would be in addition to current funding for the program of $2.57 million.

The bill is scheduled for hearing before the Appropriations Committee Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. It’s fourth on the agenda for the hearing.

Watch it live here.

Download a bill summary and analysis here.


Dec 06

Going Smokefree by August 2018: Resources for Implementation

Headline , Smokefree Air , Webinar

Are you:

  • Working on implementing HUD’s Rule for Smokefree Housing?
  • Wondering what resources can help you get there?

Please join Health Education Inc. in collaboration with Tobacco Free Nebraska for webinars to talk about resources available to you as a Nebraska Public Housing Authority. Each webinar is designed to provide assistance tied to the steps you’re taking to implementation of smokefree housing.

You may download the packet of resources referenced in this webinar at this link.

Nov 21

Tobacco Industry to Return to Television to Tell Toll of Tobacco


WASHINGTON (AP) — Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice.

Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, addictive effects of smoking, more than 11 years after a judge ruled that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes.

But years of legal pushback by the industry over every detail means the ads will be less hard-hitting than what was proposed. Tobacco control experts say the campaign — built around network TV and newspapers — will not reach people when they are young and most likely to start smoking.

“Their legal strategy is always obstruct, delay, create confusion and buy more time,” said Ruth Malone, of the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied the industry for 20 years. “So by the time this was finally settled, newspapers have a much smaller readership, and nowadays, who watches network TV?”

The new spots, which begin Sunday, lay out the toll of smoking in blunt text and voiceover statements: “More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol, combined.”

Smoking remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and illness, causing more than 480,000 deaths each year, even though smoking rates have been declining for decades. Last year, the adult smoking rate hit a new low of 15 percent, according to government figures. That’s down from the 42 percent of adults who smoked in the mid-1960s.

Experts attribute the decline to smoking bans, cigarette taxes and anti-smoking campaigns by both nonprofit groups like the American Cancer Society and the federal government.

The new ads are the result of a 1999 lawsuit filed by the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton which sought to recover some of the billions the federal government spent caring for people with smoking-related illnesses.

A federal judge ultimately sided with the government in 2006, ruling that Big Tobacco had “lied, misrepresented and deceived the American public” about the effects of smoking for more than 50 years. The decision came nearly a decade after U.S. states reached legal settlements with the industry worth $246 billion.

But under the racketeering laws used to prosecute the federal case, the judge said she could not make the companies pay, instead ordering them to publish “corrective statements” in advertisements, as well as on their websites, cigarette packs and store displays.

The campaign will be paid for by Altria Group, owner of Philip Morris USA, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., a division of British American Tobacco.

Altria, maker of Marlboros, referred inquiries to a statement it issued last month: “We remain committed to aligning our business practices with society’s expectations of a responsible company. This includes communicating openly about the health effects of our products.”

Reynolds, which sells Camel cigarettes, did not respond to a request for comment.

Originally the U.S. government wanted companies to state that they had lied about smoking risks. But the companies successfully challenged that proposal, arguing that it was “designed solely to shame and humiliate.” An appeals court ruled the ads could only be factual and forward-looking.

Even the phrase “here’s the truth,” was disputed and blocked. “Here’s the truth: Smoking is very addictive. And it’s not easy to quit,” read one proposed message.

“This was a classic case of a very wealthy set of defendants willing to appeal every conceivable issue time and time again,” said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, one of several anti-tobacco groups who intervened in the court case.

More than half a century ago, American media was saturated with tobacco advertising. Cigarettes were the most advertised product on TV and tobacco companies sponsored hundreds of shows, including “I Love Lucy,” ”The Flintstones” and “Perry Mason.” People smoked almost everywhere, in restaurants, airplanes and doctor’s offices.

Congress banned cigarette advertising from radio and TV in 1970 and subsequent restrictions have barred the industry from billboards and public transportation. Yet companies still spend more than $8 billion annually on marketing, including print advertising, mailed coupons and store displays.

Anti-tobacco advocates estimate the upcoming TV advertisements will cost companies a tiny fraction of that, about $30 million. The broadcast ads will air five times per week for one year and the newspaper ads will run five times over several months in about 50 national daily papers.

Robin Koval, president of Truth Initiative, has seen mock-ups of the TV ads in court and says they are not very engaging.

“It’s black type scrolling on a white screen with the most uninteresting voice in the background,” said Koval, whose group runs educational anti-tobacco ads targeting youngsters.

Nine of 10 smokers begin smoking before age 18, which is why most prevention efforts focus on teenagers. Yet less than 5 percent of today’s network TV viewers are under 25, according to Nielsen TV data cited by Koval’s group. While lawyers were hammering out the details of the TV advertisements, consumers increasingly switched to online social media sites and streaming services like Facebook, YouTube and Netflix.

A former smoker who was shown the mock-up ads called them terrible.

“They weren’t very compelling ads, “said Ellie Mixter-Keller, 62, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, who smoked a pack a day for 30 years before quitting 12 years ago. “I just don’t know if I would have cared about any of that.”

Source: ABC News

Annual Deaths Attributable to Cigarette Smoking—United States, 2005–2009

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Nov 16

One in Five US Adults Use Tobacco; Cigarette Smoking Among Adults is Down

Headline , Research , Smoking , Tobacco

tobacco research

Cigarette Smoking Overall Among Adults In The U.S. Is Down


(HealthDay News) — About one in 5 US adults currently uses any tobacco product, according to a study published online in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Elyse Phillips, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues used data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey to examine the most recent national estimates of tobacco product use among adults. Data were included for 33,672 adults aged 18 years and older.

The researchers found that 20.1% of US adults currently used any tobacco product, 17.6% used any combustible tobacco product, and 3.9% used two or more tobacco products in 2015. By product, 15.1% of adults used cigarettes; 3.5% used electronic cigarettes; 3.4% cigars, cigarillos, or filtered little cigars; 2.3% used smokeless tobacco; and 1.2% used regular pipes, water pipes, or hookahs. Males had higher current use of any tobacco product, as did those aged >65 years; whites, blacks, and those of multiple races; individuals with annual household income of <$35,000; those with a General Educational Development Certificate; and those who were single, never married, not living with a partner, divorced, separated, or widowed. Current use of any tobacco product was 47.2 and 19.2% among adults with and without serious psychological distress, respectively.

“Proven population-level interventions that focus on the diversity of tobacco product use are important to reducing tobacco-related disease and death in the United States,” the authors write.


Phillips E, Wang T, Husten CG. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2015. MMWR November 10, 2017 / 66(44);1209–1215. CDC.


Article Source: Renal & Urology News

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Nov 13

ACS CAN: Tobacco Products are Cheap, but the Health Costs are High


According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause:

  • More than 480,000 premature deaths each year, approximately one out of every five deaths.
  • At least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths.

The Surgeon General projects that, without further action, 5.6 million youth age 0-17 alive today will die
prematurely from tobacco use.

Despite proven health risks, current rates of cigarette smoking and tobacco use remain high.

  • 18.1 percent of U.S. adults, approximately 42.1 million people, smoke cigarettes and 21.3 percent use some form of tobacco.
  • 15.7 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes and 22.4 percent use some form of tobacco.

The low price of tobacco products makes it easy for youth to afford to start and continue smoking, and current taxes do little to defray the societal cost smoking has on the U.S. economy.

  • Smoking costs the U.S. economy at least $133 billion in direct medical costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.10
  • The average price of a pack of cigarettes, including excise taxes, was just $5.76 in 2013.
  • The average state cigarette tax is $1.54 per pack, but state cigarette excise taxes vary significantly, from a low of 17 cents per pack in Missouri to a high of $4.35 in New York.

Substantial increases in cigarette tax rates generate new revenue. Revenue increases from higher cigarette taxes substantially outweigh any decline in revenue due to fewer cigarettes being sold.

Significantly Increasing Taxes on Tobacco Reduces Tobacco Consumption

Regular, significant increases in the retail price of cigarettes reduce the number of people who begin smoking and increase the number of smokers who quit.

  • For every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes, there is a 4 percent reduction in overall cigarette consumption and a 6.5 percent reduction in youth consumption.
  • Low-income adults, youth, and pregnant women are especially likely to quit or reduce their smoking when the price increases.
  • Lower smoking rates translate into fewer smoking-related cancers and premature deaths, reduced spending on smoking-related health problems, and more productive workers.
  • When tax increases are small, tobacco companies can adjust prices or offer coupons or discounts to reduce the impact.
    Tobacco companies spent nearly $7 billion in 2011, 84 percent of their cigarette marketing budgets, on coupons and promotions that reduced the prices consumers paid for cigarettes.

Source: ACS CAN

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Sep 27

Tobacco Bills 2017 State Legislative Summary


Lawmakers across the country impose new taxes, increase legal age of purchase

Source: CSPNet September 27, 2017 MINNEAPOLIS — With only several state legislatures yet to conclude their 2017 legislative sessions, the outcome of various tobacco legislation in most states is now clear.

Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Taxation

This year, 28 states considered bills to raise cigarette and/or tobacco-product tax rates in some form. These states are Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Utah. Three of these states passed and enacted tax changes, including Delaware (50-cents-per-pack cigarette-tax increase, 15% increase on OTP and 38-cent tax increase on moist snuff), New York (modified the tax on large cigars from 75% of wholesale to 45 cents per cigar) and Rhode Island (increased tax rate on cigarettes by 50 cents). In addition, Minnesota removed the automatic inflator on the excise tax per pack of cigarettes and froze the cigarette tax rate at $3.04 per pack. Additionally, Minnesota reduced the tax cap on premium cigars from $3.50 to 50 cents per cigar. Finally, California voters approved a ballot question last November that raised the state’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack and also increased the OTP tax to 65.08%. These tax increases went into effect on July 1, 2017.

E-Cigarettes and Vapor Products Taxation

This year also produced an increasing number of states introducing legislation to assess a new tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products. Fifteen states considered bills to enact a new tax: Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia. Of the bills introduced in these states, only two were enacted into law. Delaware passed a new tax on vapor products at 5 cents per fluid milliliter on nicotine solution and New York passed a tax modification on vapor products to 40 cents per fluid milliliter. Further, the Kansas legislature decreased the excise tax on vapor products from 20 cents per milliliter of e-liquid to 5 cents.

Age 21 to Buy

In 2017, 27 state legislatures had bills introduced to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to either age 19 or 21. So far, the states of Oregon, New Jersey and Maine have enacted a statewide law to increase the legal minimum age to purchase to 21 years old. These states join California and Hawaii, increasing the total to five states with a minimum legal age to purchase at 21. Bills introduced to raise the legal age to 21 that did not pass were considered by lawmakers in Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington. Also, a bill in North Dakota that would have raised the legal age to 19 years old failed.

Despite much progress in reducing tobacco use, much work remains to be done.

What's happening with tobacco use in Nebraska?
In 2015, 30.5 percent of Nebraska high school youth reported currently using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Among Nebraska high school youth, $1.1M 13.3 percent reported currently smoking cigarettes.

What Can You Do?

Reducing tobacco use is a long-term effort. Keeping the issue on the 'front burner" helps maintain momentum for efforts to reduce tobacco use.

Below you will be able to download an infographic that charts out how much is spent on tobacco lobbying throughout the United States. Download and share it with your friends, coalition members, social accounts and more!
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