Lincoln, Neb. — Elements of LB632 would block communities from passing their own laws and could hurt the health and well-being of our families, friends and neighbors, warns the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
State laws historically set minimum health, safety, workplace and social standards. Cities and municipalities are able to localize and, when necessary, build upon and strengthen state laws to meet the needs of their communities. Here in Nebraska, our legislature has taken many positive steps to improve the health of people across the state. We want to make sure cities, towns and counties continue to have the option to build on this progress and pass laws to help their communities and local businesses thrive.
While citizens benefit from local decision making, special interests benefit from state interference. Blocking local democracy allows Big Tobacco to protect their profits by preventing the passage of local tobacco control policies that would prevent kids from using their products and help others quit.
“Local lawmakers interact with their constituents daily and are uniquely positioned to quickly implement policies to meet their pressing public health needs. Protecting our local communities’ ability to work with their elected officials to pass local policies is crucial to addressing issues like the youth tobacco epidemic and reducing the cancer burden,” said David Benson, Nebraska Government Relations Director for ACS CAN.
Tobacco use in Nebraska must be addressed as about 16% of adults (age 18 and over) smoke; 16% of high school students use e-cigarettes and 27% of cancer deaths in the state can be attributed to smoking.
ACS CAN supports state laws that set a minimum standard for public health protections, but they should not prevent local governments from going beyond that minimum standard to make healthier living easier for all who reside, work and play in their community.