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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Report grades IL tobacco prevention efforts

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Monday, February 5, 2024   

Illinois' efforts are all over the map in a new report on what state and federal officials are, or could be, doing to discourage tobacco use.

The American Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control" report evaluates every state, and the federal government, on their tobacco-control laws and policies - including for e-cigarettes.

It assigns letter grades, like a report card - and Kristina Hamilton, advocacy director with the Lung Association's Illinois chapter - pointed out the state ranked well for state smoking restrictions.

"States like ours that received an 'A,'" said Hamilton, "all public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, are smoke-free. And e-cigarettes and marijuana are completely included in the state's smoke-free law."

But the grades are lower in other aspects of the report. Illinois gets a 'C' for its tobacco taxes, and 'Fs' for allowing flavored tobacco products and a lack of tobacco prevention and cessation funding.

Another report, from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says every year, almost 23,000 youth under 18 in Illinois try cigarettes for the first time - and almost 19,000 adults die from smoking.

The Tobacco-Free Kids' report estimates the annual healthcare costs in Illinois linked to tobacco use are nearly $7 billion.

In 2022, the state's attorney general ensured settlement money from a lawsuit against major tobacco companies would fund anti-smoking efforts.

Hamilton said more legislation would strengthen the fight against tobacco use.

"We're lacking in statewide laws," said Hamilton. "We really need momentum from cities and municipalities throughout the state to pass their own flavored tobacco products, ordinances, and end the sale of those products so we can get some momentum to pass state law."

The Lung Association wants more funding for state tobacco control programs, allocation of all Juul settlement funds to tobacco prevention, and to ensure tax parity between other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigarettes.




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