Monthly Update: Summer 2018

The story of the summer is the amazing legislative successes our coalition has had!  Our priority youth tobacco prevention legislation passed and we were able to secure a half million dollar increase for the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program.  Hooray!  And now it’s time to build on those successes—we’re gearing up by getting informed.  Join us at the TFM Policy Forum on September 6! 

Register TODAY!  TFM Policy Forum – Vaping: Recent Developments and Emerging Issues

At its September 6th Policy Forum, Tobacco Free Mass will bring together national experts to approach the vape and e-cigarette issue from different angles, all with an eye to policy change. Dr. Lisa Henricksen from Stanford will talk about point-of-sale issues and youth-focused marketing. The CDC’s Michael Tynan will discuss the intersection of vaping nicotine and vaping marijuana. Dr. Youn Lee of RTI will talk about emerging nicotine products that will shape policy moving forward. The Policy Forum will be moderated by Tobacco Free Mass’ Vice-Chair, Dr. Lauren Smith, a pediatrician and Co-CEO of FSG. We will honor the late Reverend Dr. Bill Loesch with the Blake Cady Award.

Please join Tobacco Free Mass for this unique, fascinating forum with national experts and people who drive tobacco policy in Massachusetts. The forum will lead off with a roundup of the year’s events and the honoring of an exemplary tobacco control advocate with the Blake Cady Award. All registrants are invited to enjoy light refreshments and talk with colleagues before and after the speaking program.

9:30-10:00 — Registration and light refreshments
10:00-11:30 — Speaking program
11:30-12:00 — Light lunch provided

Location: Massachusetts Medical Society, Waltham.

Register online TODAY! – Dues-paying TFM members receive 1-2 free tickets, and others can pay online or with a check.  Contact me if you have any questions!

Success! Tobacco Legislation

  • The Governor signed the youth tobacco prevention bill on July 27!  This is a major step forward in protecting our young people from tobacco and nicotine addiction. In recognition of the fact that an enormous number of people worked hard to make this bill pass, the Governor will hold a bill signing ceremony in September.  As soon as we know the details, we’ll pass them along to you.  The youth tobacco prevention legislation will go into effect on December 31, 2018.  It includes increasing the sales age for tobacco from 18 to 21, adding e-cigarettes to the smoke free workplace law, and prohibiting the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.  Passing this legislation was a major effort over many years by many people. Thank you to everyone who helped make this important legislation a success.  And CONGRATULATIONS! We’ll see you at the bill signing!
  • The $500,000 increase to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program is in the final FY 19 state budget!  The program’s budget for FY 19 is now $4,218,872. This is the highest level MTCP has been funded at since 2010 and reverses a years-long decline in funding. MTCP desperately needs the funding to meet emerging challenges.  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’ impact on the Smokefree Workplace Law, and more support is needed to help individuals trying to quit smoking as they struggle with other addictions.  Thank you to everyone who contacted their legislators.  Clearly, they heard your voices!

Interesting Articles

  • The Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program launched its vaping awareness campaign over the summer!  The campaign website has resources for parents, schools, medical professionals, and others who care for young people.
  • As municipalities ban or restrict the sale of flavored tobacco, companies are creating “concept flavors” with names like Jazz to try to get around the new laws.  The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health released a study in the journal Tobacco Control  that assessed US cigar sales by flavor category (i.e., concept flavored, characterizing flavored, and tobacco) at national, regional, and state levels.  Concept-flavored cigars are defined as cigars with non-characterizing flavor descriptions (i.e., Sweet, Jazz, and Green Sweets).  The study found that that the proportion of concept-flavored sales increased while the proportion of sales decreased for tobacco and characterizing flavors (like cherry and mint).

 Upcoming Opportunities

  • Applications for the 2019 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government are due on September 4. Candidates must have strong public health credentials and be able to spend one year in Washington, D.C.  The fellow will have the option of working in the House or Senate on legislative and policy issues such as creating healthy communities, improving health equity, addressing environmental health concerns, population health or the social determinants of health. Throughout the year, the fellow will gain a practical knowledge of government and how the public policy process works.
  • The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center will hold an hour-long webinar: Vaping and Ecigs among Behavioral Health Populations: Research Evidence and Research Needs, on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, at 2:00 pm EDT. The presenter is Judith (Jodi) Prochaska, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford University.  Learn more and register here.

TFM Working Groups

  • TFM’s E-Cigarette Working Group met monthly throughout the summer. The group discussed how to help bolster DPH’s upcoming educational campaign and also talked about e-cigarette cessation.  The group’s next meeting is scheduled for September 18 from 10-11:30 am at the Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter St in Waltham.  If you would like to be a member of TFM’s E-Cigarette Working Group but are not on the list, please email me and I will put you in touch with Jonina Gorenstein and Annegret Klaua, who are heading up the working group!
  • TFM’s Menthol Working Group met in July and is setting up a meeting for September. If you would like to attend the September meeting, please contact Chris Banthin, who’s heading up the TFM Menthol Working Group.

Local Tobacco Policies

Cities and towns across Massachusetts have been passing tobacco policies that fight the tobacco industry’s influence in communities and pave the way for statewide policy. The statewide youth prevention law that just passed was brought about in large part because of the high number of local regulations banning tobacco sales in pharmacies, prohibiting use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free locations, and raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco from 18 to 21. Thank you to everyone who worked on those local regulations!

Municipalities have been looking at ways to counteract the tobacco/vape industry’s efforts to make their products appealing to young people.  One regulation that gets to the heart of the matter is restricting the sale of flavored tobacco to adult-only establishments. This policy prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products and flavored e-cigarettes, except for in qualified retail tobacco stores and “smoking bars.”  126 cities and towns have enacted this policy, covering well over half of the state’s population, at 57%. The city of Lawrence is one of the most recent additions.  None of these policies includes menthol as a flavor at this time, but municipalities are beginning to consider it.  Anyone interested in the menthol issue should contact Chris Banthin and join the Menthol Working Group.

Information about local policies can be found on the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program’s website, MakeSmokingHistory.org.

Upcoming Tobacco Free Mass Meetings

  • September 6 – Policy Forum from 9:30 to Noon at the Massachusetts Medical Society in Waltham (this is in lieu of the September quarterly meeting). But you knew that because you already registered, right?
  • October 25 – Advocacy Committee meeting from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM at The Strategy Group’s offices at 40 Court Street, 11th Floor, Boston
  • November 15 – Advocacy Committee meeting from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (note: 3rd Thursday due to Thanksgiving) at The Strategy Group’s offices at 40 Court Street, 11th Floor, Boston
  • December 6 – Full Coalition meeting from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Location TBD
  • December 6 – Advocacy Committee meeting from 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM (following full coalition meeting) – Location TBD

See the full calendar on our website, at tobaccofreema.org.

Feel like procrastinating?

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I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the Policy Forum… and to savoring the last few weeks of summer!

 

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