Category Archives for "Headline"

Jul 27

1 in 3 dementia cases are potentially preventable, report says


One in three cases of dementia could be prevented by tackling risk factors such as education and depression, a large new international review estimates.

A team of 24 experts in dementia conducted the review on prevention and care.

A recent issue of The Lancet and at this year’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, researchers model how nine health and lifestyle factors contribute to about 35 per cent of dementia.

For instance, they said that if everyone reaped the brain stimulation and interaction of staying in school until over the age of 15, the total number of dementia cases could be reduced.

Controllable factors they identified as important in midlife are preserving hearing and treating high blood pressure and obesity.

In late life, they said, controlling depression, smoking and social isolation are important.

Maintaining physical activity and controlling diabetes also help. But they said that overall, 65 per cent of the risk isn’t considered potentially modifiable.

Source: The National


How many people in your community know about the connection between smoking and dementia? Here’s a chance to educate your community and engage community members in your efforts. Below you can download a draft news release regarding the connection between smoking and dementia, and encouraging parents to talk with their kids about smoking. 

If you use this news release, please remember that your local media want to see original news. You can fill in the blanks on this news release, and you’ll be almost ready to send it to your news media, but you’ll want to make changes to the news content as well to make it your own.


I Want the News Release
May 26

How Big Tobacco stopped a smoking tax in ‘Marlboro Country’


HELENA, Mont. (AP) – When the Montana Senate voted this spring for what would have been the state’s first tobacco tax increase in 12 years, Big Tobacco lobbyists swarmed the Capitol in Helena.

With a crucial committee hearing about the bill looming in Montana’s House, cigarette retailers and vape shop owners were coached by a lobbying pro on how to oppose it with concise and disciplined testimony. Residents inundated lawmakers with calls and emails mostly railing against the tax. A tobacco lobbyist with deep GOP ties appealed directly to the Republican House speaker.

Within a week the bill was dead, its demise a textbook example of how a well-financed industry can torpedo legislation.

Tobacco and other “sin taxes” perennially surface in many legislative sessions, and cigarette makers are used to fighting back. But Montana lawmakers and lobbyists say the opposition this year was particularly fierce.

“Montana is considered Marlboro Country,” said Kristin Page Nei, a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society that supported the tax. Tobacco’s supporters “know that if a red state like Montana can pass a tax, that other states will follow suit.”

Public records and interviews with a dozen lawmakers and lobbyists reveal that two of the nation’s largest tobacco companies launched an expensive and effective lobbying campaign to kill the Montana bill, which would have raised the state tax on cigarettes by $1.50 a pack and set a 74 percent tax on the wholesale price of vaping products, the state’s first such tax.

Montana has had the same $1.70 tax on each pack of cigarettes since 2005, and the tobacco industry wanted to prevent another increase after it unsuccessfully fought a California voter initiative last November to raise cigarette taxes by $2 a pack.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Mary Caferro of Helena, saw the higher Montana tax as a way to reduce smoking and the rate at which children use vaping products. The measure had rare bipartisan support in the solidly Republican Montana Legislature, thanks in large part to its potential to shore up the cash-strapped state’s budget.

Altria Group, the parent company of Phillip Morris USA, and R.J. Reynolds focused their campaign on Montana’s House, where strong anti-tax sentiment among conservative lawmakers was exacerbated by the recent passage of a state fuel tax increase.

The two companies spent a combined $147,000 on lobbying lawmakers in the first three months of the legislative session, according to disclosure reports filed with state commissioner of political practices.

Most spending came in March, when the tobacco tax bill began moving in the Senate, and the amount actually spent is certain to increase when April’s disclosure reports are filed at the end of May.

The records made public so far show the two companies spent more money lobbying Montana lawmakers this session than they have over the last decade. Altria’s $120,000 topped all lobbyist spending during the first three months.

Vape shop owners were coached on how to present compelling testimony before the House Taxation Committee. Extra tobacco industry lobbyists were hired so they could reach out to state legislators not courted routinely by the sector.

Altria spent $31,000 on advertising and communications in March, according to the disclosure reports. Posters and handbills appeared in convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops – urging tobacco buyers to reach to their legislators and complain about the tax increase.

“The legislators were getting hammered with emails and phone calls around this issue,” said Amanda Cahill, a lobbyist for the American Heart Association, which also supported the bill.

R.J. Reynolds lobbyist E.J. Redding reported spending $1,960 on entertainment in March, including a $207 tab for a dinner attended by House Speaker Austin Knudsen and freshman lawmakers.

Redding and Altria lobbyist Mark Baker, who is a well-connected former executive director of the state GOP and has worked on the staff of a former U.S. senator and a representative, met privately with Knudsen to urge him to oppose the bill.

“Yes, there were attempts by the tobacco lobbyists to influence all of the members of the House, I imagine,” Knudsen said. “They did not influence our decision.”

Eleven of the 13 Republican bill co-sponsors changed their minds and bailed. Several insisted lobbying didn’t affect them, saying they did research that convinced them to agree with the lobbyists’ opposition talking points.

Six days after the Senate passed the bill, the House Taxation Committee held a hearing in which dozens of people testified for and against the measure.

The next day, the committee killed the bill with a rarely used measure called an “adverse committee report” that makes it nearly impossible for bills to be voted on by the House.

That same committee also approved a new estimate forecasting Montana would take in an additional $100 million in revenue over the next two years – essentially eliminating financial justification for the tobacco tax increase.

Rep. Zach Brown, a Bozeman Democrat and a taxation committee member, said he opposed the bill because it would have hit poor smokers the hardest.

But he believes the adverse committee report was a strategy hatched by tobacco lobbyists.

“They put the death nail in it, for sure,” Brown said.

An increase in cigarette taxes would be used to fund public health services under a bill heard by the Revenue Committee March 17.

<a href=’′ target=’_blank’ title=’Link to the website of Sen. Sara Howard’>Sen. Sara Howard</a>
Sen. Sara Howard
LB438, introduced by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, would raise taxes on a pack of 20 cigarettes from 64 cents to $2.14 beginning July 1, 2017. Cigarette tax revenue credited to the state’s general funds would increase from 49 cents per pack to $1.24. The bill also would increase the tax on other tobacco products — excluding snuff — from 20 percent of the purchase price to 65 percent.

Howard said more than 150,000 teens start smoking in the U.S. each year. If current tobacco use patterns continue, she said, approximately 38,000 youths under age 18 who continue to smoke into adulthood will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses.

“Raising the tax on tobacco products may not only deter abuse by youths but provide much-needed revenue for our state during a time of severe economic shortfalls,” Howard said.

The Legislative Fiscal Office and the state Department of Revenue estimate the bill would increase general funds by approximately $50 million.

Additionally, LB438 would increase the annual transfer of cigarette tax revenue to the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund from $1.25 million to approximately $60 million. The programs funded would include local public health departments, community health centers and a tobacco prevention and control program. The bill also would create a fund intended to help reimburse behavioral health service provider rates.

Mar 20

Bill would more than triple Nebraska’s cigarette tax


Supporters of a bill that would more than triple Nebraska’s tax on cigarettes argued Friday it would discourage teenagers from smoking, but retailers contend a higher tax would cause customers to buy tobacco in other states.
A measure sponsored by Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha would increase the state’s cigarette tax from 64 cents on a 20-cigarette pack to $2.14. Revenue from the extra $1.50 in tax would be split between the state’s general fund and funds used for behavioral health services.
More at: Lincoln Journal Star

Mar 17

AHA Poll: Majority of Nebraska Voters Support an Increase in the Tobacco Tax


A strong majority of Nebraska voters support a $1.50 increase in the cigarette tax and an equivalent increase for other tobacco products to help address the budget shortfall and fund health programs. The results show a resounding 71 percent of Nebraska voters support increasing the tobacco tax, while 28 percent oppose it.


The poll of 500 Nebraska registered voters was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies from March 4-7.  The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.38 percent.


 Source: The American Heart Association & American Stroke Association:

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Mar 16

Students rally in Lincoln to combat tobacco use



LINCOLN, Neb. — No Limits, Nebraska’s youth-led tobacco prevention movement, held its No Limits Kick Butts Day Rally March in Lincoln on Wednesday.

The event was open to Nebraska youth ages 12-18, in grades 7-12.

The No Limits Kick Butts Day event included a march from downtown Lincoln to the rally site on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol.

The theme for this year’s Kick Butts Day Rally was “Same ol’ dog. Same ol’ tricks.”

Participants also meet with state senators prior to the march to discuss how tobacco is impacting Nebraska teens.

No Limits Youth Board Co-Chair Kamrin Edmonds says the opportunity to meet with lawmakers is a valuable experience.

“I never imagined myself talking to our local state senators. When we get to speak with them or their staff, we know they are really hearing our message,” Edmonds said. “The senators are the decision makers, and we are letting them know the opinions of youth in their districts.”

Molly Kincaid, No Limits project coordinator, says the event helps participants learn leadership skills while pursuing a cause they are passionate about.

“No Limits empowers youth to take a stand against Big Tobacco and the marketing tactics the industry uses to peddle their products to young people,” Kincaid said.

Kick Butts Day is a nationwide event promoted by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to encourage youth to stand out, speak up and seize control in the fight against Big Tobacco.

Additional information about tobacco use, including state-by-state statistics, can be found here.

Source: 10/11 News

Mar 16

Tobacco Tax LB438 Hearing: Watch Live Here


LB438 will be heard today by the Revenue Committee.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha, would increase the tax in cigarettes from 64 cents per pack to $2.14 per pack. It also would increase the tax on tobacco products other than snuff from 20 percent of wholesale to 65 percent of wholesale.

At the same time, it also would set the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund as the receiving and distribution fund for all cigarette tax revenues. The receiving and distribution fund for revenues from the taxation of other tax products would remain the Tobacco Products Administration Cash Fund.

Other actions proscribed by the bill include designating a variety of health and safety initiatives and organizations as recipients of cigarette tax revenues. Recipients include public health departments ($6 million), the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center ($4 million), and $2.4 million for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

The bill also would create the Behavioral Health Provider Rate Stabilization Fund for reimbursement of behavioral health services providers. It would provide that the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund issue a portion of cigarette taxes ($8 million) as funding for the Behavioral Health Provider Rate Stabilization Fund.

The hearing starts at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, and is second on the agenda. At that time, you can watch the hearing here.


Mar 16

Higher tax on tobacco proposed to keep kids from starting smoking


LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) – The American Heart Association says that a large majority of Nebraskans support a substantial increase in taxes on cigarettes in an effort to keep youth from starting to smoke.

According to the survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies earlier this month, 71 percent of those surveyed supported the increase in tax They say the tax could help address Nebraska’s budgetary short fall.

Nebraska youth rallied outside of the state capitol on Wednesday in support of stricter smoking laws. The day has been marked as “Kick Butts Day” nationwide.

Molly Kincaid of No Limits, an organization that fights against tobacco targeting children in advertisement, says that teens are the most at risk.

“They are targeting the teens. They’re replacement smokers so they don’t really care about them. They make their marketing tactics with the candy flavor or the packaging to attract the youth.”

The American Heart Association says that 1,000 kids in Nebraska become new daily smokers every year. The tax proposed by LB 438 is intended to lower that number.

Source: WOWT

Mar 15

Wednesday is National Kick Butts Day


Wednesday is National Kick Butts Day, a day of activism that empowers young people to speak up to tobacco companies.

About 13 percent of Nebraska high school students smoke on a regular basis, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

That is higher than the national average of 10 percent.

Organizers of Wednesday’s anti-smoking rally said that number is too high.

Nebraska’s youth-led tobacco prevention movement “No Limits” is planning a rally at the state capitol.

Planning for the rally started months ago and is encouraging people between 12 and 18 to participate.

About 80 young adults will march through downtown Lincoln at 9:45 a.m., with a rally on the capitol steps at 10:30 a.m.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and organizers hope the event will sway some people to quit or keep people from smoking at all.

Source: KETV