The mission of the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition (NTPC) is to improve the health of all Nevadans by reducing the burden of tobacco use and nicotine addiction.
NTPC’s priorities and objectives are both short- and long-term. Some require a constant and consistent effort to sustain them year-to-year. Others are more specific in nature, with an end result in sight. Still others arise when market conditions change.
What doesn’t change, however, is NTPC’s commitment to its mission to improve the health of all Nevadans by reducing the burden of tobacco use and nicotine addiction as it pursues its goals.
NTPC has identified the following issues as its top priorities for 2016:
- Educate Nevadans on the public health and revenue impacts of the $1 per pack cigarette tax increase passed by the Nevada legislature
- Promote expanded tobacco control and prevention funding
- Defend and improve the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act
- Increase the legal age for the purchase of tobacco and nicotine products to 21
- Address the public health impact of electronic cigarettes and other emerging tobacco products
- Collaborate with local and state partners in Nevada that share our mission to improve the health of all Nevadans by reducing the burden of tobacco use and nicotine addiction in our state.
Educate Nevadans on the $1 Tax Increase
Nevada successfully increased the tobacco tax by $1.00 raising the overall tobacco tax to $1.80 per pack during the 2015 legislative session. Increasing the price of tobacco and nicotine products has proven to be one of the most effective public policy tools available to prevent new users and to encourage current tobacco users to quit.
Tobacco Control Funding
Historically, Nevada has never funded tobacco control at levels anywhere near CDC recommendations. In fact, during a special session of the Nevada Legislature in 2010, MSA funds for tobacco control were swept into the state’s General Fund to help fill budget shortfalls resulting from the Great Recession.
Funding was finally restored during the 2013 legislative session to the tune of $1 million per year for the next two fiscal years.
The Grants Management Advisory Committee (GMAC) is the body that makes funding priority recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services. To determine how best to divide the MSA funding and make such recommendations, the GMAC conducts a biannual Needs Assessment Survey. Results of this survey consistently rate tobacco control funding as a high priority. The challenge is that Nevada has never adequately funded public health and social services programs, regardless of the funding source. The demand for funding by recipients of MSA money is very competitive.
As NTPC looks ahead to the 2017 legislative session, every effort will continue to be made to ensure the state continues its commitment to tobacco control efforts.
Because tobacco control funding is ultimately determined by the Legislature, this is an ongoing effort for NTPC and not specific to any legislative session. Read about the History of Funding.
Defend and Improve the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act
As an NTPC priority, improving and expanding the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act (NCIAA) is another ongoing, long-term effort that includes short-term goals and milestones.
Efforts are already under way to improve clean indoor air laws through local campaigns in Mesquite, Incline Village and other communities.
However, there are other ways the NCIAA can be improved and expanded.
Clean Up State Laws
Since enactment of the NCIAA, one nagging concern has been the inconsistencies and conflicts within this chapter of law. Because the NCIAA was voter-approved and not passed by the Legislature, the laws that were in place prior to the NCIAA weren’t amended as a result. The only way to clear up any inconsistencies and conflicts is through legislation.
To this end, NTPC supports legislation to clean up this chapter of law to ensure Nevada’s clean indoor air laws are easily understood.
The rapid proliferation of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices has created challenges for consumers, regulators, and businesses alike. The overriding question: Where can they or can’t they be used?
Because the NCIAA became law prior to the launch of these products, nothing exists in the law to prohibit their use in indoor public places and protect others from exposure to the aerosol they emit.
Therefore, NTPC supports efforts to include e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices under Nevada’s clean indoor air laws and prohibit their use wherever smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products is currently prohibited. Providing consistency is important. Removing the confusion e-cigarettes have created is critical to establishing a consistent framework for compliance and enforcement.
Raising the minimum legal sale age for tobacco and nicotine products to 21 is a promising strategy to reduce smoking and other tobacco use among youth and save lives. A 21 sale age complements other strategies to reduce tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws that include all workplaces and public places, and well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
Nearly all smokers start as kids or young adults, and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. Increasing the sale age to 21 will help to prevent young people from ever starting to smoke and to reduce the deaths, disease, and health care costs caused by tobacco use.
E-Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products
There is a rapid and extensive expansion of the use of electronic cigarettes in Nevada and around the country. The public health community is playing catch-up this emerging public health crisis. This relatively new nicotine addiction device threatens public health gains made against tobacco in the areas of exposure to tobacco smoke and the areas of price, marketing, and accessibility to youth.
Businesses and local health departments have seen a rapid and significant rise in the use of e-cigarettes; when the NCIAA became law e-cigarettes did not exist. With the rise in use and in advertising, and access, the NTPC will seek to have e-cigarettes covered under the NCIAA.
During the 2015 legislative session Senate Bill 225 and Senate Bill 89 passed which preclude a clear application of e-cigarettes to the NCIAA and taxation of e-cigarette products at the same rates as cigarettes. Those legislative actions removed e-cigarettes from categorization as products made from “tobacco” or other tobacco products. These two bills will need to be altered to address e-cigarette use.
Further the Coalition will pursue policy related to the marketing, sale, and taxation of e-cigarettes to ensure they do not have a competitive advantage over traditional cigarettes.