TOBACCO BARN: DEVELOPMENTS FROM AROUND THE NATION
A government health care advisory committee yesterdayThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
recommended "that the price of cigarettes be boosted by at least
$2 a pack, calling it 'the single most effective way' to keep
children from smoking," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The
recommendation, made by the National Academy of Sciences'
National Cancer Policy Board, "could buttress support for tough
new action against tobacco as Congress prepares to debate" the
$368.5 billion global settlement. The Inquirer reports that the
advisory panel also made the "controversial" recommendation that
cigarette makers be penalized "at different rates" for failing to
lower youth smoking rates. The panel's report said, "Incentives
to reduce youth tobacco use will be most powerful if penalties
for failure to achieve goals fall hardest on those firms making
brands attractive to underage users. If youth tobacco goals are
not met, financial penalties should be targeted to manufacturers,
based on brands used disproportionately by youths" (Pope, 1/9).
SUNSHINE STATE UPDATE
A Florida Senate select committee recommended Wednesday that
state Senate President Toni Jennings (R) "allow the governor to
spend" $17.1 million on a $200 million anti-tobacco program
designed to reduce smoking. Gov. Lawton Chiles (D) wants to
spend $57 million on the program this year, but is only asking
for start-up funds at this time; the money would come from the
state's $11.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry
(Pendleton, Florida Times-Union, 1/8).
'DA MAYOR VS. JOE CAMEL
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D) "is pushing a statewide
ballot measure to raise the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to
benefit programs for California's children," the San Francisco
Examiner reports. The proposed increase could "generate $700
million annually," money that would be earmarked for "early
childhood development programs, parenting education and family
support services and stop-smoking assistance programs" (Lewis,
NEVADA SHOW DOWN
The tobacco industry is "starting to contribute to the
campaigns of state legislators" in Nevada in an attempt to
prevent the Legislature from following California's footsteps by
"prohibiting smoking in bars." Jack Jeffrey, a lobbyist for the
Tobacco Institute, said he expects an anti-smoking law to be
introduced in 1999, but does not expect it to pass (Ryan, Las
Vegas Sun, 1/7).
TENNESSEE UNIONS SUE
Four workers' health care funds representing 5,200
Tennesseeans filed a class-action suit against the tobacco
industry Wednesday. The suit seeks to recover money spent by the
union-backed health plans to treat workers for smoking-related
illnesses (release, 1/7).