Prevention and Public Health

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has until Jan. 19 to decide whether to sign a bill that would prohibit retail establishments from selling traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone 20 years old or younger, according to the NY Daily News. In 2006, New Jersey raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 19.

#1  Medicaid Expansion

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, and they will be required to contribute matching funds beginning Jan. 1, 2017. This means that legislatures in those states will have to appropriate state funds during their budget sessions in 2016.  

The federal funding will decrease from covering 100 percent of the newly eligible...

CSG Midwest
Three years ago, wanting to know the story behind the troubling data about infant mortality in Ohio, Sen. Shannon Jones decided to take a tour of her home state. Along with a colleague, Sen. Charleta Tavares, Jones organized visits to local hospitals and met with health care practitioners and social service providers. Why were infant mortality rates so high in Ohio (almost the nation’s highest at the time)? Why was there such a huge disparity in the rates between black and white infants? What could be done to fix the problem? Legislators didn’t come back from the statewide tour with any easy answers or magical fixes, but they did return with a resolve to do more to address the problem.

The use of electronic cigarettes—or “vaping”—has exploded in recent years among both youth and adults. In the absence of clear federal regulations, state policymakers have struggled with how best to approach the taxation and regulation of the devices. Attendees heard from state leaders, experts, law enforcement and federal representatives who will discuss how states are currently taxing e-cigarettes and restricting their sales to minors. The presenters also described what the future may hold for regulating consumption and marketing and manufacturing devices.

The Act prohibits the sale of electronic smoking devices and alternative nicotine products to minors, and requires child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine containers. The Act also requires that all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices and alternative nicotine products, are sold with the assistance of a clerk, meaning that these products can no longer be sold in self-service displays.

This act amends existing laws in Arkansas relating to the Arkansas Tobacco Products Tax Act of 1977, which regulates tobacco products, to include vapor products, alternative nicotine products, and e-liquid products.

According to the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, current e-cigarette use (defined as use on at least 1 day in the past 30 days) among high school students jumped from 4.5 percent (660,000) in 2013 to 13.4 percent (2 million) in 2014. Among middle schoolers, use tripled from 2013-201: from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014. Currently, at least 48 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes or alternative tobacco products to minors.

During its state budget debate in 2015, Louisiana turned to a relatively new sin tax. It joined North Carolina and Minnesota and added taxes on e-cigarettes to its revenue sources. Legislators from Louisiana, North Carolina and Minnesota will join a panel discussion on taxation and regulation of e-cigarettes during a policy workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the CSG 2015 National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. An official from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will address proposed federal regulations on e-cigarettes. The FDA is using its statutory “deeming” authority to issue regulations on products that it determines fall under the legal definition of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco and novel products such as nicotine gels and dissolvable tobacco

In health, states increasingly look to prevention and early intervention as ways to provide better health outcomes and to reduce health costs. Models of mental health care reform also are moving toward a complete behavioral health system with the goal of providing patients with early access to treatment.

CSG Midwest
New policies in three Midwestern states have the goals of boosting immunization rates among young people and preventing the spread of disease.

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