BREATHE LA July Newsletter:
Advocating To Protect Our Community
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Marc My Words : Advocating for Healthy Communities 
A Letter from the President and CEO
Echo Park. Photo courtesy of Gabriel Duarte – www.instagram.com/photographyloverla
Each program we put on, each child we reach, each patient with chronic lung disease we assist, is important. Touching the life of an individual in need is a big part of why we do what we do at BREATHE LA. But another big part is pushing to make major changes in public policy that can help hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people at a time. That’s why we’ve been steadily increasing our advocacy efforts over the past few years.

Currently, our advocacy is focused on three main areas: eliminating youth vaping by supporting bans of flavored tobacco products, increasing early diagnosis and treatment of emphysema and COPD, and phasing out the use of diesel fuel in California, which will reduce the major source of air pollution in Southern California.

Beyond these priorities, we are also engaged at the local and state levels to make sure government officials are focused on protecting public health, particularly for the most vulnerable – children, seniors, and those living in disadvantaged communities (the areas with the fewest resources and the most pollution). For instance, BREATHE LA staff testified before the California Air Resources Board several weeks ago, before it adopted its first-in-the-world Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation. 

Adopting that rule was an incredibly significant step, which will require all new trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2045. But we are frustrated that the end of diesel will take the state 25 years. We want to ensure that Southern Californian kids have a diesel-free present, not just a diesel-free future. 
Sponsoring State Legislation to Promote Early Diagnosis of COPD
In February, BREATHE LA and Emphysema Foundation of America co-sponsored Assembly Bill 2293, to create the “BREATHE with COPD Act of 2020.” This bill would require the Department of Public Health to conduct a public awareness campaign to educate the public about the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and to increase diagnosis and treatment of the estimated one million Californians who have the early symptoms of this chronic disease. During this pandemic, we must take additional steps to protect the health of all residents, and those with COPD are particularly vulnerable of more severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19. While the bill passed out of the State Assembly without a single vote in opposition, the state Senate decided to hold this bill, among many others, and not consider it until 2021.
Please visit our website and sign our petition on the Advocacy & Public Policy page to voice your support for AB 2293 and let our legislators know that this bill will save lives.
Promoting Local Laws to Help Curtail the Youth Vaping Epidemic  
We are a proud member of the L.A. Families Fighting Flavored Tobacco Coalition , which is working to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes “vape juices” and even menthol cigarettes. While many major cities in the nation, as well as several cities throughout Los Angeles County, have adopted ordinances to protect the health of its residents, the City of Los Angeles has still not addressed the issue by adopting its own flavored tobacco ban. If you live in the City of Los Angeles , you can help us by taking action to urge your council member to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in the nation’s second-largest city.   

We are also strongly supporting a proposed state law to ban the sale of flavored tobacco across California. This bill, SB 793, will have a hearing in the State Assembly Health Committee on August 4th. The disturbing rates of teen e-cigarette use continued to rise in 2019 with more than 1 in 4 high school students and more than 1 in 10 middle school students using e-cigarettes. Altogether, more than 5.3 million youth were current e-cigarette users in 2019 with the overwhelming majority of youth citing use of popular fruit and menthol or mint flavors. Weigh in with your legislator here and let them know you support this important bill.
Ending Diesel to Ensure Cleaner Air for Southern Californians
There are more than 169,000 heavy-duty smog-choking diesel big rig trucks operating in Southern California today. Diesel exhaust from these trucks, not to mention construction equipment, ships and trains, is the region’s largest source of air pollution, greenhouse gas, black carbon and diesel particulate matter, and that is why Southern California has the worst air quality in the nation. 
 
Diesel exhaust fumes can trigger many health problems, including asthma, cancer, lung disease and heart disease. The highest level of exposure is experienced by people living near ports, rail yards and freeways where diesel-fueled vehicles are constant.   
 
BREATHE LA is working to end the use of diesel fuel in California. Through our  End Diesel Now campaign , we have been trying to get the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to end the use of diesel-fueled trucks in their terminals by 2023. Ending the use of diesel — something Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for by 2030 — would put California in step with other major cities around the world. Twenty-four European cities, including Paris, Athens and Madrid, have pledged to end diesel in the next decade and Mexico City has taken a similar dramatic step. Additionally, several countries, like France, Britain, and India are trying to eliminate diesel by 2030 and 2040 (with Norway aiming for 2025). So we know that it is possible to do better than the 25-year target that the state recently established.

BREATHE LA is committed to ending the use of diesel fuel as soon as possible. Visit   EndDieselNow.org to learn more and see how you can help.
Support BREATHE LA's Advocacy Efforts
Advocacy is a critical part of our efforts to clean the air and improve public health across Southern California. Please consider making a donation so that we can continue to ensure that our kids, our families and our communities can all Breathe Easier.™   

To make an impact immediately, select one of the following:
  • Online here
  • By phone at: (323) 935-8050 ext. 247 (with a credit card)
  • By mail at: BREATHE California of Los Angeles County, 5858 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300, Los Angeles, CA 90036