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. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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