Public Health Officials To Discuss Tobacco Settlement Spending at APHA Annual Meeting
With only three states -- Maine, Minnesota and Mississippi -- expected to allocate enough funds from the national tobacco settlement to meet the CDC's recommended spending levels for comprehensive tobacco prevention programs this year, the issue has "generated enough concern" to be discussed at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting this week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. About 5% of the $200 billion tobacco settlement has been spent on state tobacco prevention efforts, according to Lee Dixon, director of the health policy tracking service at the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the meeting in Philadelphia this week, public health officials will discuss a policy resolution calling for "more public scrutiny" of settlement fund spending, particularly for tobacco prevention and control. Health officials also will discuss a resolution that would recommend states spend the tobacco settlement funds primarily on public health programs and tobacco control (Uhlman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/10).
To demonstrate the need for legislation designed to "crack down" on online cigarette sales to minors, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday had his 13-year-old daughter go through the steps of ordering a carton of cigarettes online, the New York Daily News reports. Although they did not complete the transaction, Schumer said that it shows how easily minors can get access to cigarettes. Schumer said he plans to introduce legislation next year that would make it more difficult to purchase tobacco products on the Internet. The legislation would require:
- Cigarette purchasers to give their driver's license or another form of state identification, which would be verified against an existing database by the online vendors;
- Customers to show identification to "confirm they are the original valid buyer" when the cigarettes are delivered; and
- Web sites that sell cigarettes to display "prominent advisories" on the health effects of smoking and to state that the sale of cigarettes to minor is illegal.
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