May 4, 2018
SPECIAL EDITION: Day at the Capitol 2018
On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania hosted more than 500 lung health advocates, including youth, from across Pennsylvania to rally for Pennsylvania lawmakers to take action now and raise the minimum sales age for all tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – to 21 at the Main Capitol in Harrisburg. In addition, advocates urged support for sustaining Master Settlement Agreement funds to support lifesaving tobacco cessation and prevention programs and services throughout the commonwealth. At the event press conference, State Sen. Mario Scavello and Rep. Thomas Murt both committed to working together to introduce Tobacco 21 legislation, with the hope of having the legislation pass by this time next year.
More than 300 students from the TRU (Tobacco Resistance Unit) joined adult advocates in Harrisburg to enlist support for their efforts to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21. TRU is a movement throughout all of Pennsylvania to help youth, between ages 12 and 18, stay tobacco- and nicotine-free, and aims to prevent and stop youth tobacco use through education. A statewide movement, TRU is managed by the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT) and the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania.
The event also took place on World Asthma Day. Rep. Robert Matzie passed a resolution recognizing May 1, 2018 as “World Asthma Day” in Pennsylvania!
Please enjoy this short video of the 2018 Day at the Capitol in Pennsylvania!
A new study found that increases in adolescent vaping from 2017 to 2018 were the largest ever recorded in the past 43 years for any adolescent substance use outcome in the U.S.
In just one year e-cigarette use among youth has skyrocketed, increasing by:
90% among 12th graders
96% among 10th graders
74% among 8th graders
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1998 legal settlement between the states and the tobacco companies, which required the companies to pay more than $200 billion over time as compensation for tobacco-related health care costs.
The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use – the nation’s No. 1 preventable cause of death – and to confront the growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette use in America. In Pennsylvania, 8.7 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes, while 11.3 percent use e-cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 22,000 Pennsylvania lives and costs the state $6.3 billion in health care bills annually.
This week Senator Mario Scavello (PA-40) released a co-sponsorship memo for Tobacco 21. He is actively looking for support in the Senate and plans to introduce legislation in the session starting in the new year. While PACT is still advising that advocates wait until the new year to start their legislative visits, if you have any connections with Senators you think might be interested in support please reach out to PACT and we are happy to connect them with Senator Scavello’s Office.