February 12, 2018

To improve Kentucky's health by protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and by reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth.

Steering Committee:
American Cancer Society
Cancer Action Network

American Heart Association American Stroke Association

American Lung Association

Baptist Health

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Kentucky Council of Churches

Kentucky Equal Justice Center

Kentucky Health Collaborative

Kentucky Health Departments Association

Kentucky Hospital Association

Kentucky Medical Association

Kentucky Nurses Association

Kentucky School Boards Association

Kentucky Voices for Health

Kentucky Youth Advocates

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Did you know?
Smoking during pregnancy is the single most important known cause of low birth weight and increases the risk of preterm birth and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

- 20.7 percent of pregnant women in Kentucky smoke, compared to 10 percent nationwide (2014 data)

- Kentucky ranks 43rd worst in the nation for pre-term births (see more)

- For low birth weight babies, we rank 38th (see more)

- In four Kentucky counties (Clay, Jackson, Lee and Owsley), more than 40 percent of pregnant women smoke; in 35 counties, the rate exceeds 30 percent.

A tobacco tax increase of at least $1/pack is a proven method to prevent teens from starting to smoke.

- 17 percent of Kentucky high schoolers smoke ... the second highest rate in the nation (11 percent is the U.S. average)

- 23 percent of all Kentucky high schoolers use e-cigarettes

- 2,900 Kentucky kids become new daily smokers each year

- 119,000 Kentucky kids alive today will die prematurely if we don't reduce youth smoking

- Persons with mental illness or substance use disorders who smoke typically die about five years earlier than smokers without these disorders. More information here.

Smoking increases the breakdown of psychiatric medications in the body, so individuals with mental disorders often smoke more to get the same results. Learn more here.

We'd love for you to post this information on social media using the hashtags
 #smokefree4babies, #smokefreeteens and #dollarmore4health. Be sure to tag the Coalition, @smokefreeky. 

For more social media post ideas, graphics and photos, visit our user-friendly toolkit!
What Can You Do?

Join the Coalition
We're adding new partners and members regularly. Your organization can join here . There's no cost ... just a willingness to support the Coalition's mission and share what we're doing with your networks.

Welcome new Partners!
South Central Area Health Education Center

Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department

Spread the Word
Check out our social media toolkit here. It's filled with suggested posts, graphics, photos and hashtags to help spread the word about the Coalition's work to reduce smoking and improve health in Kentucky.

Our website also has a fact sheet that you can use to contact your legislator in support of raising the cigarette tax.

Coalition News

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Case for Improving Health by Raising Kentucky's Tobacco Tax Making Headway in Frankfort
The chances for improving Kentucky's health by reducing the state smoking rate through a $1 or more per pack cigarette tax increase are better than they've been in years, Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow leaders say. Here's the evidence:

Gov. Matt Bevin's news release regarding his 2018-19 budget proposal specifically referenced raising the tobacco tax in connection with tax reform, and the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed a resolution supporting the increase at a Jan. 17 hearing. The directors of Kentucky's two major cancer centers testified at that hearing, saying  raising the cigarette tax would be the  "most impactful thing they could do to improve Kentucky's health in their lifetimes."

Dr. Mark Evers talks with Sen. Reggie Thomas as Dr. Jason Chesney celebrates Senate Health & Welfare Committee's support for raising Kentucky's cigarette tax by $1/pack.

Dozens of advocates have been meeting with legislators in Frankfort, and fundraising by the Coalition is gaining momentum. In addition, a recent poll found that 69 percent Kentucky voters support raising the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and that support held strong across all political parties. Also, t he Kentucky Health Collaborative has added the weight of its 10 member hospital systems to the Coalition's growing list of partners. 

"Kentucky can no longer ignore the damage that tobacco use is doing to the well-being of our citizens, and the financial condition of our
health care system," said  Ephraim McDowell Health President and CEO Sally Davenport, who is a member of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow Steering Committee. "We have at our fingertips a proven tool to dramatically cut smoking rates and prevent tobacco use among today's youth and for generations to come. It's time, Kentucky."
Kentucky Youth Advocates News Conference Rises Awareness of Teen Tobacco Use
Kentucky Youth Advocates hosted a news conference to raise awareness around teen tobacco use and to promote an increase to Kentucky's tobacco tax of at least $1 as a solution to prevent teen smoking with the Foundation For a Healthy Kentucky and Coalition for a Smoke-free Tomorrow members. Read more here, and check out the full version of the infographic partially shown above here. And here's a link to the news conference video.

Reducing the Smoking Rate for Preg nant Women in Kentucky 
Misti Williams
More t han 1 in five Kentucky women who are expecting smoke cigarettes during  pregnancy. That's more  than two-and-a-half times the national average rate of 8 percent.   In  35 Kentucky counties, the rate is higher  than 30 percent. And in four counties - Clay, Jackson, Lee and Owsley - it exceeds 41 pe rcent. Former smoker Misti Williams, now expectin g her 5th child, was able to quit with help, and now supports the $1 tobacco tax increase. Learn about her story here .

Breaking the Link Between Smoking and Mental Illness
Kentuckians living with mental illness have high smoking rates, and often require stronger doses of psychiatric medications and live shorter lives as a result. But quitting smoking can improve their lives, and an increase in the state excise tax on tobacco products would be particularly effective in reducing smoking among this group. 

"Smoking increases the breakdown of 
psychiatric medications in the body, so individuals with mental disorders often smoke
Ramona Johnson, CEO, Bridgehaven
more to get the same results," said Ramona Johnson, CEO of Bridgehaven in Loui-

Nationwide, smoking kills more than 200,000 persons living with mental illness every year.

Several Bills Introduced to Raise Cigarette Tax by $1/Pack
Although the best chances for raising the cigarette tax by $1 per pack in Kentucky appear to be as part of a budget or tax reform bill, three stand-alone bills ( SB 29, HB 29 and HB 339) have been introduced in the current Kentucky legislative session that include a $1/pack tax increase on cigarettes. If any one of these bills is enacted, it would go into effect this fall. If the tobacco tax increase is included as part of a budget bill, however, it could go into effect as early as July 1. 

No committee hearing has been scheduled for any of the stand-alone bills as of this writing.  
Partner and Member News
Kentucky Quitline Funded
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released the Year 5 notice of funding for the Quitline Capacity Grant. The Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program will use this funding to continue providing high quality tobacco cessation services through Quit Now Kentucky

March of Dimes Supports Raising Kentucky Tobacco Taxes
Smoking during pregnancy is a major public health problem in Kentucky, according to a new fact sheet released by the March of Dimes. The national voluntary health agency, which works to prevent birth defects, said it supports raising Kentucky's cigarette tax by at least $1/pack, as well as a bill that would prohibit the use of tobacco products on school property. See the March of Dimes fact sheet here.

Kentucky Equal Justice Center Joi ns Coalition Steering Committee 
Reducing health disparities is an important part of the Coalition's work, so we welcome the voice
of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center to our Steering Committee. This Committee sets the priorities and oversees the operations of the Coalition.
Recent News Coverage
Coalition in the News (please share these stories on social media):
Other Tobacco Related News:

Please Support These Upcoming Events
Smoking Impact on Heart Disease is Focus of Feb. 14 News Conference
February 14, 2018
12:30 p.m., Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort
Join Coalition members in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort on Valentine's Day to support raising the cigarette tax to reduce heart disease in Kentucky. Tell your legislators that Kentucky has the 43rd worst heart disease mortality rate in the country. 

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to Host News Conference During Day at Capitol
February 21, 2018
11 a.m., Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort
Kentucky is the CANCER CAPITOL of the nation, and tobacco use is a major cause. Join ACS to urge lawmakers to reduce smoking from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and be sure to attend the 11 a.m. news conference in the rotunda. Learn more here.

American Lung Association Gathers in Frankfort to Make Lung Health a Priority
February 27, 2018
10 a.m., Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort
Join the ALA 
and health advocates from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to talk ab out lung health, and how reducing smoking and reduce lung cancer and COPD in Kentucky. Our Coalition news conference needs your support at 10 am.! Learn more here .

Join the Tobacco Tax Rally on Kick Butts Day!
March 21, 2018
9:30 a.m., Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism when teachers, youth leaders, public health advocates, and other community leaders organize events designed to get youth
to stand out, speak up and seize control 
against Big Tobacco. You can find ideas and register your event here. Be sure to join in the Capitol Rotunda rally at 9:30 a.m.

Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy Spring Conference
April 11, 2018, Lexington
A day of learning and networking about comprehensive smoke-free efforts in Kentucky. Learn more here.
Want to join us?
Does your organization want to help make Kentucky healthier by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke? Click
here  to join our Coalition. Or email Angela Koch , akoch@healthy-ky.org