CONCORD – Today, New Hampshire’s Senate Finance Committee voted on key public health budget measures relating to tobacco control. A broad coalition of public health groups issued a letter calling on lawmakers to support lifesaving tobacco related public health measures being considered in the state budget. The following statement can be attributed to Mike Rollo, New Hampshire director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“We know that tobacco use kills – but we also know there are evidence-based solutions that can help save lives from this deadly addiction. Among these is a fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation program, which could help keep kids in particular away from the dangers of e-cigarettes and help those currently addicted to tobacco in their quest to quit.
“New Hampshire received $214 million in tobacco taxes in 2020 but spent less than $400,000 on initiatives to prevent kids from using tobacco and to help smokers quit. After years of not adequately funding tobacco prevention or cessation services, the time is right to increase resources for those impacted by tobacco related illnesses and those wanting to quit. The return on investment is enormous both economically and for the health of our kids, the next generation.
“In this vein, it is also critical lawmakers do not undermine the system we have in place to enforce current tobacco control regulations in New Hampshire.
“ACS CAN thanks Senators Hennessey, Rosenwald, and D’Allesandro for their vote and leadership on this issue and their commitment to prioritizing public health as part of New Hampshire’s state budget. We urge their colleagues to follow suit and support inclusion of these important public health measures in the state budget.”
Specifically, the letter called on members of the Senate Finance Committee to:
- Support a state budget that increases tobacco control funding by $220,000 per year to provide cessation resources for youth under the age of 18, who are now addicted to nicotine caused largely by electronic cigarette/vape use. This modest funding will enable the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program (TPCP) to launch an initiative to help keep granite state youth healthy.
- Oppose the section in the House approved budget which abolishes 21 enforcement positions within the NH Liquor Commission- Division of Liquor Enforcement- and renames it to the Division of “Licensing and Education”. Simply put, this move will jeopardize the safe operation of licensed e-cigarette/vaping and alcohol establishments and the Division’s ability to protect vulnerable aged youth.