ACTION ALERT: Speak up for Tobacco Prevention… Call your Senator NOW!

The Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) needs your help by Friday, May 18!

The Senate Ways and Means Committee released a budget that cuts MTCP’s funding by 10% from the current year’s level!  This will reduce MTCP’s ability to respond to the urgent need in Massachusetts for an increased effort to prevent young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.  With Juul and other flavored e-cigarettes heavily targeting young people, schools and parents are calling for more help.  Communities are also turning to MTCP for guidance on cannabis cafes’ impact on the Smokefree Workplace Law, and more support is needed to help individuals trying to quit smoking as they struggle with other addictions.

Contact your state senator TODAY and tell them that we need to increase Massachusetts’ ability to respond to the changing face of tobacco.

Ask your state senator to take a stand against Big Tobacco by increasing funding to $8,500,000, bringing it back to the FY 2007 level.


TALKING POINTS:

Call your Representative by **Friday, May 18**; the Senate starts its budget debate the following week.

Here’s what you could say:

  • “I’m calling to ask that Senator _______________ sign onto Senator Jason Lewis’ amendment to increase funding for the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. The Amendment number is 515.
  • The funding in line item 4590-0300 should be increased to the FY 2007 level of $8,500,000.
  • This will allow the tobacco program to educate parents and other adults about e-cigarettes, Juul and other emerging products, provide more enforcement of local tobacco laws protecting youth, and work more effectively to help all smokers quit.

Find your legislators and their contact info here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Calling is quick and usually makes more of an impact, but you can also email the same message.

BACKGROUND:

MTCP is the state’s tobacco control program and is critical to the fight against tobacco in Massachusetts. It implements and enforces laws, funds local boards of health and community organizations to do enforcement and education, runs the state’s quitline, produces ads and materials educating about tobacco and nicotine, and provides surveillance and evaluation for tobacco issues, including the rise in e-cigarette use among young people.

An increase of just $4.75 million for the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program would strengthen current efforts. An additional:

  • $750,000 funds all five Board of Health tobacco control program RFRs that weren’t funded and adds three new programs in areas of need.
  • $500,000 funds five additional Community Partnership programs, which are grants to local nonprofits.  They would help fill the need for outreach about Juul use among young people and they do outreach to underserved populations on cessation.
  • $200,000 would enable MTCP to expand its systems-based cessation services to better increase tobacco cessation among people who are dealing with other addictions at the same time (nicotine is a complicating factor in addiction).
  • $3.3 million would go toward youth prevention, using three combined approaches:
    • $200,000 would allow The 84 to expand to middle schools, where tobacco use (including Juul) really starts
    • $200,000 would enable MTCP to conduct more surveillance and evaluation of youth tobacco use and new products/marketing, including Juul.
    • $2.9 million would allow MTCP to run a youth tobacco prevention campaign aimed at educating adults and youth about Juul.  This is a clear need articulated by schools, community programs, and parents; this lack of awareness has been the subject of many media stories in the past few months.