IBJOpinion

Smoking should be part of health reform

January 9, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

As Congress debates health care reform, it’s easy to lose sight of what we agree on—and what we know works to prevent disease and lower costs. Helping people quit smoking and keeping young people from starting are proven ways to reduce the awful toll of cancer, heart attacks and other serious illnesses caused by tobacco use, which remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and adds $96 billion to our health care costs every year.

I’m proud to live in Indiana, a state that has taken tobacco prevention seriously, and gotten some serious results. Through hard work and constant effort, our Indiana tobacco-prevention program has cut our high school student smoking rates dramatically. Unfortunately, we still have the second-highest rate of adult smoking in the country. And now, after years of progress against tobacco, the nation has stalled.

According to the latest government data, there’s been no reduction in the rate of adult smoking since 2004. To keep from falling backward, Congress must make funding for prevention programs a priority in health care reform. The Senate in particular must protect these funds as it debates reform in the coming weeks.

I work in VOICE, Indiana’s youth-led movement to curb smoking by teen-agers and combat the tobacco industry’s marketing messages that bombard us every day. Our work gives young people the tools to resist. For example, we tell kids as young as fourth and fifth grade that for what they might spend on cigarettes in a year, they could take a trip to Disney World. I’ve personally seen several of my classmates throw their chewing tobacco in the trash after a guest speaker explained its dangers.

Our youth smoking rates have dropped dramatically since Indiana started vigorously funding prevention. In 2000, almost a third of high school students smoked, but that’s dropped to about 18 percent. Calls to Indiana’s quit line have gone up by 600 percent over the past two years. Still, the tobacco industry spends $1 million every day in Indiana to market its products. Big Tobacco never takes a break, so neither should we.

Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans annually and costs billions in excess health costs and lost productivity. Across the nation, community-based prevention programs are educating young people about tobacco’s dangers and helping current smokers to quit. They deserve help from Congress and the health reform legislation is the proper place to provide it.

__________

Emily Kile
Senior, Greenfield Central High School
National Youth Advocate of the Year
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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