Many of us probably know that long ago, the federal best practice protocols for tobacco control started to call for comprehensive coverage of all cessation services by insurance companies. It’s really a no-brainer, right? I’m always a bit confused as to how the actuaries who run insurance risk profiles failed to notice the cost-benefit rewards of that one. I mean look at that new data from CA; each $5 pack of cigarettes costs the state of CA $27 in associated healthcare costs?!! (thanks Kurt for sending that out, thanks ALA for releasing that research). (see report here)
Well, nicely, we’re also seeing a growing trend of change on this point. Medicaid is now covering all cessation (read about it here) and Medicare is too (see here). Also, I’m not sure if it’s done or coming, but I know this coverage is being expanded to all federal employee insurance policies too. And 7 states currently require private insurance to cover cessation (read about it here) but more are looking to expand to this every day. So local policy change that makes a big difference could be coming to your neck of the woods soon.
So, I’m very pleased to debut the Networks’ new policy statement supporting comprehensive cessation coverage. Thanks to Gustavo for the writing. And good luck to all, may the day come soon when everyone has free and easy access to cessation!
The Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC) held their second webinar in the 2010 Tobacco Control Network (TCN) series this week, “TCN Strategies for Smoke-Free Air Policy Implementation,” titled “The Devils in the Details: Achieving the New Gold Standard in Smoke-free Policies.”
The call focused on helping participants Identify the updated or new provisions in model smoke-free air legislation, Understand the rationale for current model, Determine what provisions are essential (deal breakers) for effective, enforceable smoke-free air legislation, and Apply lessons learned from case studies to recognize challenges that need to be addressed in your state or community
The list of speakers included:
- Bronson Frick
Associate Director, Americans for Non-Smokers Rights Foundation
- Maggie Mahoney, JD
Deputy Director, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium
- Sally Herndon, MPH
Head, Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, North Carolina Division of Public Health
- Jim D. Martin, MA
Director of Policy and Programs, Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, North Carolina Division of Public Health
- Sharon R. Biggers, MPH, CHES
Director, Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control, South Carolina
One main take away message from the call was to “Plan before you act… don’t put the cart before the horse”. I think this is so true no matter what type of project you’re working on. Many times we get so excited, we have people ready to act and work on a new project or campaign and we just dive in with excitement. Having a great group ready to act is a great thing but, it is always better to plan your attack. Especially in today’s climate with the tobacco industry using new tactics to derail our efforts. Check out this page to view ANR’s What to Expect from the Tobacco Industry
When we are talking about smoke-free air legislation, Bronson noted that ANR’s Guiding Principles, Fundamentals of Smoke-Free Workplace Laws document great place to start!
When developing your language they also suggest to start with ANR model language and then amend to include more state specific language with partners at the table.
In his presentation he addressed the following:
- Agree on “dealbreakers”
- Be realistic about resources
- State with a strong grass roots base
- Start with Model Policy language
- Include expert advisors
- Importance of broad-based community support
He said it is important Agree on deal breakers & Key Principals early in process
Put decisions in writing…
Once you get your main players at the table work out a plan. Sometimes you might have additional partners join later, or staff changes throughout the process so it is good to have everything in writing so that everyone can be on the same page always. In addition, determine your deal breakers; ANR has created Determining Your Dealbreakers page to assist in this process.
View ANR’s Model Ordinance, this document is updated almost yearly to continue to offer the most up to date resources for your work.
Some key updates in the current version included definitions of
- Restaurants/Bar Patios
In addition there are other issues to watch for such as:
- 100% smokefree hotels
- Medical Marijuana SHS
- Other Emerging Issues
One main thing of interest was the new hot topic of Electronic Cigarettes.
While there is some scientific evidence showing that E-Cigarettes are not a healthy product, there is still very little scientific evidence to support any secondhand smoke or vapor can be harmful. The new ordinance showcases some of the findings and the reason why they are being included in enforcement activities etc.
The definition of smoking has been amended to include e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarette” any electronic oral device, such as one composed of a heating element, battery, and/or electronic circuit, which provides a vapor of nicotine or any other substances, and the use or inhalation of which simulates smoking. The term shall include any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, or under any other product name or descriptor.
Also, if you are working on Hookah they noted focusing on the language stating “heated tobacco or plant products intended for inhalation” can encompass hookahs.
TTAC has uploaded all of the materials from the call to their site. To view the supporting materials, speaker’s bios, and presentations you can visit:
Or click the links below:
- Model Ordinance
- Bronson Frick and Maggie Mahoney’s Presentation
- Sally Herndon and Jim Martin’s Presentation
- Sharon Biggers Presentation
In addition to the great presentation resources, I wanted to let you all know that The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids released an updated Special Report on Smoke-Free Laws Protecting Our Right to Breath Clean Air this month. This is another great resource I think you all might find useful!
ALSO, don’t forget to view the Networks LGBT People and Smoke-Free Air factsheet.
As you may know, the LGBT Tobacco Control Network and other public health advocates have anticipated these new federal regulations on tobacco control!
A message from the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working together to educate consumers, public health partners, and the general public about new tobacco regulations that take effect today, June 22, 2010. These regulations limit the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to individuals younger than 18 years of age; require larger and stronger health warning labels to appear on smokeless tobacco advertisements and on smokeless tobacco products manufactured on or after June 22, 2010; and prohibit the tobacco industry from manufacturing for sale or distribution any tobacco products for which the label, labeling, or advertising contains the descriptors “light,” “low,” or “mild” (or any similar descriptor).
CDC and FDA are seeking your support to help get the word out about these new, historic FDA tobacco regulations. You can support this effort by
· Posting a “Put Out the Myth” graphical button on your Web site. When clicked, this button will take visitors to a consumer-focused feature article on CDC’s Web site (www.cdc.gov/features/tobaccocontrols) entitled “New Tobacco Controls Have Public Health Impact.” This article provides information on the regulations and their public health impact. The article also contains helpful links to resources—such as FDA guidance documents—that provide detailed information on the new regulations. Visit the “Put Out the Myth” download page at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/stateandcommunity/fda_regs/buttons/index.htm to obtain html code for a variety of button sizes.
· Becoming a fan of CDC’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cdc and posting “Put Out the Myth” status updates on your Facebook profiles.
· Telling others about our posting on CDC’s Everyday Health Widget at http://www.cdc.gov/Widgets/#everydayhealth.
· Viewing OSH’s latest entry on CDC’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/CDC_eHealth.
· Following OSH on GovLoop at www.govloop.com/group/CDCTobaccoFree. A post on GovLoop announces the significance of June 22 and encourages readers to visit the online feature article. GovLoop is a social networking site for the government community. It currently serves about 30,000 members, including local, state, and federal government employees and contractors. Academics and students interested in government are also welcome to join.
· Subscribing to CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use Main Feed at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/rss/index.htm to receive updates of new and recently changed content from CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site on your browser or desktop.
· Encouraging readers to send Health-e-Cards emphasizing the value of being tobacco free www2c.cdc.gov/ecards/index.asp?category=201.
Please also continue to access CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site www.cdc.gov/tobacco for helpful resources and the latest information.
CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health
by ScoutNetwork Director
CDC’s Wellness Conference + hotmath
This is it folk, the first time ever CDC has convened not just the state tobacco control staff from around the country, but our new partners in the latest greatest health mashup, the nutrition and exercise folk too! So it seems like hot new math for health folk is the following.
Tobacco + Exercise + Nutrition = Wellness!!!
And of course ya really wanna understand the new math for health folk at a national and local level, it seems like maybe I should correct it to be the following.
(Tobacco + Exercise + Nutrition)policy = Wellness policy
Yup, it’s all about policy these days. Why? Well, after some great charts this morning (which I should write more about later) it seems to boil down like this… policy changes health behaviors in a way that all the good information in the world can’t seem to affect. Ok, take it even further, money appears to change health behavior in a way good information and intentions can’t. How? Well, for example we see that smoking rates are incredibly affected by taxes on cigarettes. One of the new things you might see coming to you soon are policy campaigns to add similar taxes to SSBs. Uh… what are they? Sugar Sweetened Beverages. Seems like folk are getting a crazy amount of their calories from SSBs, and so taking lessons from the tobacco arena, public health folk are starting to push excise taxes for SSBs. While it seems like a small bit of the overall obesity epidemic, apparently SSBs are a pretty large lever to create some change.
DNPAO? Worst acronym ever!
But I gotta say one thing, the nutrition and exercise folks need some acronym help! DNPAO <- what in the world does that mean? Wait wait… people tell me it’s Diet Nutrition Physical Activity Obesity. Oh yah that rolls off the tongue. But then, being part of the LGBTQQIA block, um, I guess I can’t really be the one to register the complaint.
Working on Wellness? We want you too!
With Healthcare Reform and this recent $650M of state stimulus money on Wellness the feds put out, the emphasis on Wellness is only going to increase in the coming years. Which as public health folk, I’m sure we all will love. Face it, there’s something comforting about working on a prevention-based model, instead of our usual uh-oh-look-what-kinda-disasterous-effects-years-of bad-health-creates model. (<- I believe that’s its formal name) But – there’s no LGBT network for wellness (yet!). So… we really wanna link up these wellness folk too and help connect them with the LGBT experts like we do for tobacco. You can see the picture up there of the sign I just tacked on my bike that this conference, me shamelessly using the bike to try to get the attention of the state Wellness policymakers here. Cause come on everyone, this $650M of Wellness money alone means there’s big new projects in every single state, and we definitely want these folk to be including LGBT outreach and programs in those projects. I mean, especially if it’s all about policy these days, don’t tell me LGBTs don’t have deep policy inroads in every single state. (can you say civil rights battles?)
And hurry up already!
Ya know. I’m thinking about this new nutrition, exercise, and tobacco mix, and I’m thinking hmmmm… I’m the Director of the Network for LGBT Tobacco Control, and I’ve worked hard to get myself a kit where I can take my folding bike everywhere I go. Take it off the luggage carousel, take it outta the bag, put the bag on back and roll right away from the airport. Why? Well, main reason I usually give is that it’s near impossible to eat in hotels. As a vegetarian, you put me in a hotel and I’m stuck with white pasta and salads until I can get free and go get my own food. Of course, I also love my biking, it makes me happy. (don’t even ask me how many bikes I have). But so… let’s see, healthy eating, exercise and tobacco all rolled into one ball? Like maybe I could go to a meeting, get some vegetarian food at the hotel, find a bike lane on the street, and have it be in a tobacco-free city? Yes siree, let’s hurry up and get this work integrated everywhere! It’s a natural fit, and I’ve been waiting a long time for it.
On June 22, 2009, the President signed the Tobacco Control Act into law. The Tobacco Control Act grants FDA important new authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health generally and to reduce tobacco use by minors.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is soliciting information, research, and ideas to assist FDA in fulfilling its responsibilities regarding tobacco product advertising and promotion that is designed to appeal to specific racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. For the same reasons, we are also interested in receiving information about advertising and promoting menthol and other cigarettes to youth in general, and to youth in minority communities. After reviewing the submitted information, research, and ideas, FDA will be better able to fulfill its responsibilities under The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act).
We are requesting comments that will assist the agency’s development of an action plan regarding enforcement of regulations on advertising and promotion of menthol and other cigarettes to youth generally and to youth in minority communities. FDA is also seeking information that will assist the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee in understanding and developing recommendations regarding the impact of the use of menthol in cigarettes among children, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other racial and ethnic minorities.
Those interested persons can submit electronic or written comments by July 26, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov under [Docket Number FDA–2010–N–0207] Tobacco Product Advertising and Promotion to Youth and Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations.
For more information contact Kathleen K. Quinn, Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, 9200 Corporate Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850–3229, 240–276–1717, e-mail: Kathleen.Quinn@fda.hhs.gov.
Mary C. Hitch
Senior Policy Advisor
Office of External Relations
U.S. Food and Drug Administration