TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, SB 1080 – a bill disguised as a solution to the youth tobacco epidemic – was passed by the Senate Rules Committee with an 11-5 vote. The bill will be heard next on the full Senate floor.
House Passes Bill that Undermines Decades of Success in Hawaii’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Efforts
HONOLULU—The State House passed a bill today that would jeopardize Hawaii’s successful efforts to reduce tobacco use by removing protected funding for the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) issued the following statement from Cynthia Au, Interim government relations director for ACS CAN in Hawaii:
"While the House recognizes the need for tobacco prevention programs, we are deeply concerned that this bill will remove permanent, stable funding for the trust fund—undermining decades of progress that Hawaii has made in reducing tobacco use and saving lives.
"Over the years, Hawaii has successfully dedicated millions of dollars to tobacco prevention efforts and the trust fund has significantly reduced smoking rates among youth and adults, saving the state lives and money. We must ensure the money for this program remains protected and used as intended, and not subject to change every year.
"Adequate, fully funded tobacco control programs reduce tobacco use by preventing youth from a lifelong addiction and helping adults already addicted quit for good. At this critical moment, we should be doing everything to keep our communities healthy and safe—which means building strong public health infrastructure including protecting funding for comprehensive tobacco control programs. As we face an epidemic of youth e-cigarette use with 31% of Hawaii’s teens using them, now is not the time to meddle with funding that we know helps prevent tobacco use.
"Without a reliable source of funding for tobacco prevention, Hawaii could see more youth using tobacco products, more lives lost and greater health care costs. ACS CAN urges the legislature to protect this critical funding to reduce the devastating burden of tobacco use on our communities and families."
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking will kill roughly 1,400 Hawaii residents this year and is responsible for nearly one-quarter of Hawaii’s cancer deaths. Smoking also costs the state nearly $526 million in annual health care costs.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.