Wednesday, June 25, 2014

UPDATE: Garden City Moves Forward With Scaled-Back Smoking Ban

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

UPDATE: June 25, 2014

The tagline for Smokefree Idaho is "Everyone has the right to breathe clean air." That's why the anti-smoking organization has pulled its support of Garden City's proposed smoking ban.

The iteration of the ban under consideration by the Garden City City Council has been amended to exclude bars and bingo halls for people over age 21, but according to Smokefree representative Stacy Satterlee, that means workers in those establishments will continue to be exposed to harmful secondhand smoke.

"Why is it OK for them to not have the same [workplace] protections we have?" Satterlee said.

Removing protections for workers in bars and bingo halls, she said, "really took a lot of the meat out of the ordinance."

According to her, an anti-smoking ban that would have Smokefree Idaho's support would include workplace protections for all workers, the closure of loopholes for small business (five or fewer workers), at least a percentage of hotel and motel rooms in a city that are smoke-free, and no smoking near business doors and ventilation. 

ORIGINAL POST: June 24, 2014

The Garden City Council voted Monday to host two more public readings of a reduced-in-scope smoking ban, the Associated Press reports.

The present version of the ban would prohibit smoking in most indoor public places, but stops short of banning it in bars or bingo halls for people age 21 and over. Previous versions of the ordinance would have prohibited smoking inside all businesses, but that plan was nixed after Garden City bar owners said a ban could cost them business. 

Health officials backed the original plan, saying that smoking in bars raised health concerns for workers employed in closed spaces where people smoke.

In 2011, Boise enacted a smoking ban of its own that prohibits the activity in bars, parks and along the greenbelt. Some bar owners said the Boise ban impacted business, but bar and restaurant employees affected by the ban said they'd experienced health issues from working in close proximity to secondhand smoke.

Currently, Caldwell is considering a smoking ban at the Canyon County-owned Gabiola Field, Simplot Stadium, Wolfe Field Baseball Stadium and O'Connor Field House.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Feds Propose Tighter Rules on E-Cigarettes

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM

In an effort to catch up with the times, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this morning that it is proposing new rules to curb the use of electronic cigarettes. The regulations would also cover pipe tobacco and cigars, which have slid under the radar of the FDA while growing in popularity.

Simply put, the new regulations would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco to any American under the age of 18. More importantly, the proposed rules call for a much tighter leash on marketing vials of liquid nicotine used in the e-cigs.

Additionally, producers of cigars and e-cigarettes would have to register with the FDA, provide details of their products' ingredients and disclose any manufacturing processes and scientific data. The producers will also be subject to FDA inspections.

But the proposed rules do not include any effort to ban flavors in e-cigarettes and cigars, such as bubble gum and grape. Public health officials regularly complain that children are lured to the flavored e-cigarettes, but the FDA is not yet in a position to show scientific data that proves that the flavors pose a health risk for young people.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

McCall Moving Toward Stricter Smoking Regulations

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Officials in the city of McCall are moving forward with their proposal to expand their smoking ban.

The McCall Star News reports this morning that McCall City Manager Gene Drabinski is drafting an ordinance that would ban smoking from all McCall motel rooms, public patios and outdoor eating areas, and within 20 feet of public doorways.

The McCall City Council asked for the ordinance to be drafted in the wake of an online survey that indicated strong support for expanding the Valley County community's smoking ban.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Boise Wants to Snuff Out E-Cigarettes Among City Employees

Posted By on Sun, Apr 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

The City of Boise wants to broaden its tobacco use policy to include e-cigarettes.

When the Boise City Council meets this Tuesday, April 8, they'll be asked to approve a resolution that would convert its stand-alone Tobacco Use Policy from the status of "policy" and group it with the "Drug-Free Workplace Policy" and regulations in its employee policies. Additionally, the change would add e-cigarettes to the existing restrictions.

As drafted, the policy on tobacco and nicotine use prohibits cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff and chewing tobacco among city employees inside any city vehicle in addition to in or around any city building, in city parks or inside any space owned, leased or operated by the city.

Currently, e-cigarettes are not addressed in the Boise City Smoke Free Air regulations, which have been effect since early 2012.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

CDC: Idaho Stop-Smoking Efforts 'Woefully Underfunded'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 11:42 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with a new report this morning, roundly criticizing Idaho's smoking cessation efforts, saying they are "woefully underfunded."

In its 2014 edition of a report dubbed "Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs," the CDC recommends that Idaho needs to spend more than $15 million on tobacco control programs, "seven times the amount the state actually sets aside for efforts to help prevent young people from starting to use tobacco and help those already addicted to quit."

The CDC said Idaho generates $73.2 million a year from tobacco settlement dollars and tobacco taxes, yet Project Filter is currently funded with only $2.2 million.

"While we understand there are many competing priorities in any state budget, improving public health by preventing kids from using tobacco and helping adults quit is a proven and worthwhile investment,” said Stacey Satterlee, Idaho government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “It’s time for Idaho to get serious about reducing tobacco use and, thus, tobacco-related death and disease by adequately funding programs to do just that.”

In the U.S., tobacco kills 480,000 people each year and costs $289 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Study: 50 Years of Tobacco Controls Saved 8 Million Lives

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Baby boomers remember a time when cigarettes were regularly advertised on television. Even Fred Flintstone hawked smokes on primetime (see video below). The mid-20th century was a time when entertainers and even newscasters freely smoked on the air and well before warning labels started popping up on cigarette packs. Ultimately, advertising was curtailed and the U.S. government began pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into programs to convince Americans not to smoke.

Today, 50 years after the U.S. Surgeon General first came out with a then-groundbreaking report detailing the health risks of smoking, the federal government say tobacco control efforts extended the lives of at least 8 million Americans—adding nearly 20 years to their life expectancy.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that more than 40 percent of American adults smoked cigarettes in the 1960s, but now only 20 percent of adults continue to smoke.

"Following that (1964) publicity, a number of events occurred that really caused smokers to quit — taxes on cigarettes, smoke-free air laws, bans on advertisements and health reporting," said senior author David Levy from Georgetown University.

But the report also includes some troubling news: More people than ever are lighting up worldwide, and modest declines in smoking prevalence in the U.S. have leveled off. Hundreds of thousands of people die annually from smoking-related illnesses, the researchers concluded.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oregon Raising Cigarette Tax, Pushing More to Buy Their Smokes in Idaho

Posted By on Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM

More smokers are expected to cross into Idaho in 2014 to pick up their cigarettes.

Oregon is the latest state to bump up its tax on cigarettes. Effective Jan. 1, Oregon is raising its cigarette tax by 13 cents to $1.31 a pack.

By comparison, Idaho's cigarette tax is 57 cents, the eighth lowest in the nation. Missouri's is the lowest at 17 cents per pack.

Idaho continues to have significantly lower cigarette taxes than its neighbors. Washington's is $3.02, Montana's is $1.70 and Nevada's is 80 cents per pack. Only Wyoming comes close to Idaho with its 60 cents per pack tax.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 43.8 million adults smoke cigarettes in the U.S.

Each summer, tracks the average price of cigarettes across the country by calling a random gas station in the most populous city of every state in the nation, plus Washington, D.C., and asks a clerk for the price of a pack of Marlboro Red cigarettes, including tax.

As of July, the cheapest pack of Marlboro smokes was in Kentucky at $4.96. Kentucky was followed by North Dakota ($5.04); West Virginia ($5.07); Oklahoma ($5.19) and Idaho ($5.25).

The most expensive pack of Marlboro Red cigarettes in July was in New York ($14.50). New York was followed by Illinois ($11.59); Hawaii ($9.68); Arizona ($9.65) and Alaska ($9.59).

Washington had the 11th highest price ($8.31); Montana was No. 24 ($6.25); Nevada was No. 38 ($5.50); Wyoming was No. 40 ($5.37) and Oregon was No. 41 ($5.35).

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Star-News: McCall Debates Smoke-Free Proposal

Posted By on Sun, Oct 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM

A community meeting in McCall has been scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 9, when the public will be able to weigh in on a new effort to ban smoking in the work place.

The McCall Star-News reports that the city is being asked to consider a new ordinance that would require bars, small businesses, hotels, motels, bus stops and some outdoor areas to be smoke-free.

Smokefree Idaho is pushing the effort, modeled after similar no-smoking ordinances in Boise and Ketchum. According to Smokefree Idaho, smoke-free policies "increase productivity and decrease absenteeism among non-smoking employees."

But an editorial in the Star-News calls the ordinance "a solution looking for a problem."

"Requiring smoke-free workplaces is a bad idea," reads the editorial. "This proposal is a case of imploring government to legislate the public good, even if that legislation creeps onto private property."

The community meeting is set for Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Douglas MacNichol Building in McCall.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mountain Express: Smoking Ban Passes in Ketchum

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 9:43 AM

As expected, officials in the City of Ketchum have approved new smoke-free rules.

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports that the council voted unanimously April 15 to adopt an ordinance that prohibits smoking "in a long list of public areas throughout the city." First-time violators will be issued a written warning. Second-time violators could get hit with a $25 fine and a third violation could result in a $52 fine. Additionally, employers who discriminate against employees who lodge complaints about smoking could face penalties of $1,000-$5,000.

The Mountain Express reports that the smoking ban will be in effect in all city-owned facilities, parks, and all enclosed, indoor public places and places of employment. Additionally, the ordinance prohibits outdoor smoking within 20 feet of bus stops and on all school property.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

White House Wants To Nearly Double Cigarette Tax

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 9:51 AM

President Barack Obama's new budget would nearly double the cigarette tax, slapping an additional 94 cents onto the current $1.01-a-pack tax. Obama proposes that the additional revenue go toward early childhood education programs. But critics say because most smokers are middle-to-lower class, the non-sliding-scale tax will hurt those already hardest-hit.

"Increase would have substantial public health benefits, particularly for young Americans," the president's budget reads. "Researchers have found that raising taxes on cigarettes significantly reduces consumption, with especially large effects on youth smoking."

Obama's proposed federal cigarette tax could have a huge effect on public health given that one-in-five Americans smoke and young smokers are particularly price sensitive. When the cigarette tax increased four years ago, cigarette sales fell by 10 percent.

The U.S. spends $193 billion a year on smoking-related costs, if direct medical payments and productivity losses are taken into account, according to a large 2012 Centers for Disease Control study.

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