Tobacco Free Rhode Island

Tobacco in the News

2015

TOBACCO FREE YOUTH MINI-GRANTS AVAILABLE!
Apply by February 23, 2015
The United Way in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health's Tobacco Control Program (RITCP) invite applications from not for profit youth based organizations and schools to participate in two coordinated statewide events that will boost awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and promote tobacco free living. Organizations may include non profits agencies, substance abuse prevention program and coalitions with a youth based infrastructure that have a FEIN #.

Awards may be funded up to $1500 each to Rhode Island organizations/schools with existing youth groups (ages 13-17) to assist in the planning and implementation of the 2nd Annual Kick Butts Day event - Zombie Walk scheduled March 18th and World No Tobacco Day (late May). Technical assistance, event coordination and messaging will be provided by the RITCP and Tobacco Free Rhode Island (TFRI) throughout the award period beginning approximately March 1st – June 30, 2015. Local organizations with existing youth infrastructures are strongly encouraged to collaborate and apply.

Applications are due no later than Monday, February 23rd.

Click below for required proposal forms.

NEW TEXTING CAMPAIGN
RI Department of Health launches new texting campaign to help teens quit smoking.
READ PRESS RELEASE

E-CIGARETTE LICENSING
As of January 1, 2015, all sellers of e-cigarettes in Rhode Island require an e-cigarette license from the RI Department of Health.
Inquiries regarding E-cigs licensing: The application form with instructions is online at HEALTH's website here...
http://www.health.ri.gov/licensing/healthcare/#otherhealth
For questions regarding licensing, please contact Mike Simoli in the Healthcare Licensing unit at 401-222-2828.

 

2014

KUDOS TO WPC!
Kudos to TFRI Partner, the Woonsocket Prevention Coalition, for championing a local tobacco retail license for Woonsocket!
The Call
September 17, 2014
READ ARTICLE

TOBACCO FREE RI IN THE NEWS APPLAUDING CVS FOR QUITTING TOBACCO A MONTH EARLY

IT'S THE LAW!
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signs e-cigarette youth access prevention bill into law
July 1, 2014
Thank you, advocates! Thank you, Senator Ruggerio, Representative Helio Melo, and Governor Lincoln Chafee! We look forward to continue working with you next year to protect RI youth from highly addictive nicotine products.

FITZ'S HITS: KEEPING E-CIGARETTES AWAY FROM MINORS
The Providence Journal
June 22, 2014
READ ARTICLE

YOUR ADVOCACY MADE A DIFFERENCE!
An Enforceable E-Cigarette Bill Approved by RI General Assembly
On June 19, 2014, the RI General Assembly approved legislation to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and require all sellers and distributors of e-cigarettes in Rhode Island to obtain a license.

Thanks to YOUR constituent advocacy, and the advocacy work of tobacco control organizations at the State House, the legislature chose the Senate bill language which creates an enforceable law:

  • e-cigarette vendors must obtain an annual license from the Department of Health;
  • e-cigarettes must be added to the signage that retailers are required to post ("The Sale of Cigarettes, Tobacco, and Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Products to Persons Under the Age of 18 is Against Rhode Island Law");
  • e-cigarettes will be included in unannounced compliance checks of retail locations (as is the case for other tobacco products);
  • fines and penalties will be levied against retailers who break the law and sell e-cigarettes to minors.

Tobacco control advocates pushed hard for the inclusion of these law enforcement provisions.

We commend Senate Majority Leader Ruggerio for listening to us and for including these critical provisions in his bill. We also appreciate the House and Senate leadership's support for the inclusion of these important regulatory and enforcement provisions to give true protection to our kids from a highly addictive nicotine product.

Tobacco Free RI and our health and child advocate allies advocated strongly for e-cigarettes to be defined and regulated as tobacco products. We did not win on this. The legislation approved by the General Assembly provides a separate definition for e-cigarettes: "electronic nicotine delivery system" product. However, it should be noted that Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette advocates did not win their preferred industry definition of "vapor product" either (that was in the House bill language that was amended out).

We believe that e-cigarettes are a tobacco product, because they contain nicotine, which is derived from tobacco. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a proposed rule issued in April 2014 will assert authority over and regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.  The fact that Rhode Island's bill does not define and regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products could lead to confusion once FDA's rule is finalized. If e-cigarettes are defined as tobacco products they would be included in all of the important public health protections that apply to tobacco products now as well as any future regulations.  Tobacco Free RI will keep working on this.

We also wanted the legislation to require age-verification for internet and mail e-cigarette sales - we did not win this inclusion. We will keep working to achieve this.

Majority Leader Ruggerio gave us his commitment that he will work with us next year to build upon this legislation to protect kids from e-cigarettes, as the FDA takes further action and as we gather data from the implementation of this law.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVOCACY!!!!

E-CIGARETTE BILL IS A BOON FOR TOBACCO INDUSTRY
RIFuture.org
June 16, 2014
READ ARTICLE

Protect Youth from Electronic Cigarettes! CALL IN DAY TO THE STATE HOUSE TODAY! June 10, 2014
We urgently need you to make two quick calls to State House leaders TODAY:

  • Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, at (401) 222-2466
  • House Judiciary Chair Cale Keable at (401) 222-2258

Below is a suggestion of what to say to the staff person who answers the phone. You may not get to say all of it, but the key message is: oppose HB 7021 as amended because it will be a law with no enforcement teeth and will not protect kids.

Hi, my name is ______ and I live in ______. I am calling about House Bill 7021, up for consideration today in the House Judiciary Committee. It seeks to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. I am deeply concerned to hear that the bill will be severely amended at today's hearing by creating a separate definition of e-cigarettes as "vapor products", thus exempting them from current Rhode Island laws regarding the illegal sale of tobacco products to children. I am urging the Speaker/Chairman to oppose this amended bill.

I'm opposed to the proposed amendment for these reasons:

  • The amended language creates a loophole and ultimately defeats the intention of the bill. Last year, Governor Chafee vetoed a bill that was essentially identical to this proposed amended bill, stating: "The sale of electronic cigarettes should be prohibited, but it is counter-productive to prohibit sales to children while simultaneously exempting electronic cigarettes from laws concerning regulation, enforcement, licensing or taxation. As a matter of public policy, electronic cigarette laws should mirror tobacco product laws, not circumvent them."
     
  • As e-cigarettes are currently unregulated in any way, we need to pass a law that will keep our kids from becoming addicted to nicotine by assuring electronic cigarettes are not sold to persons under 18. However, the only way to assure this is to include in the language a way to enforce this law. It's essential that we license e-cigarette sellers, so we know which retailers are selling these addictive products, so we can conduct in-store compliance checks and also require age verification for online sales. There need to be significant penalties for retailers who operate without a license or who sell to minors.

Background:
Protecting kids from electronic cigarettes is a top priority of Tobacco Free Rhode Island. Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, vape pens or hookah pens, are currently completely unregulated, with no age sales restrictions, no disclosure of ingredients and no health warning labels. They are being heavily marketed to youth and becoming rapidly popular among teens. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco and is a highly addictive substance.

Big Tobacco and the E-Cigarette Industry are lobbying legislators to remove effective regulations from the proposed e-cigarette House bill, such as requiring e-cigarette vendors to obtain a tobacco retail license. Removing the licensing provisions would exempt retailers from inspections and effective enforcement, essentially leaving vendors to the honor system not to sell to minors.

TAKE ACTION NOW — Regulate E-cigarettes to Protect Kids! June 2014
We anticipate a vote this week at the State House on a key Tobacco Free RI legislative priority. House Bill 7021 would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and would require e-cigarettes in Rhode Island be included in the existing law regulating tobacco products. Big Tobacco and the E-Cigarette Industry are lobbying legislators to remove all language from our bill that would require e-cigarette sellers to obtain a tobacco retail license. This would exempt them from inspections and effective enforcement, essentially leaving vendors to the honor system not to sell to minors.

Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, vape pens or hookah pens, are currently completely unregulated, with no age sales restrictions, no disclosure of ingredients and no health warning labels. They are being heavily marketed to youth and becoming rapidly popular among teens. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco and is a highly addictive substance.

REVISED EDITORIAL
The Providence Journal has issued a correction to its May 5, 2014 Editorial on E-Cigarettes and the FDA Proposed Regulations: This editorial has been corrected to include information that the FDA is seeking to define e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
READ EDITORIAL

Tobacco Free RI supports Tobacco-Free College Campuses
ABC 6 April 29, 2014
VIEW VIDEO

TFRI AT THE STATE HOUSE
Tobacco Free RI members were at the State House on April 29th to support Rep. Art Handy's bill to raise the cigarette tax -- the single most effective proven measure for preventing youth smoking -- and to request more funding for tobacco prevention and control programs.

Pictured at left: Rep. Art Handy, TFRI Chair Dr. Pat Nolan, and Mark Holland, a volunteer with Thundermist Health Center.

Read the TFRI letter to the House Finance Committee signed by 30 organizations.
CLICK HERE

FDA PROPOSES NEW RULE
April 25, 2014
The FDA has issued a proposed rule that would extend the agency's tobacco authority to cover additional products that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes.
LEARN MORE
READ ALA PRESS RELEASE

TOBACCO FREE RI COMMENTS ON RI PUBLIC RADIO
RI Bill Would Also Ban Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors
By Catherine Welch
Tobacco Free Rhode Island is applauding proposed rules out of the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes. The rules are similar to those in a bill pending at the Statehouse
READ MORE

Gov. Lincoln ChafeeE-CIGARETTES
New bill would ban sales to R.I. minors
Providence Journal
Friday, April 25, 2014
DONITA NAYLOR

The Rhode Island General Assembly last year passed a bill that would have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to people younger than 18, but Governor Chafee vetoed it at the request of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and other health advocacy groups.

In his veto message, Chafee said: "The sale of electronic cigarettes to children should be prohibited, but it is counterproductive to prohibit sales to children while simultaneously exempting electronic cigarettes from laws concerning regulation, enforcement, licensing or taxation."

A new bill in the General Assembly, H7021, by Rep. Helio Melo, D-East Providence, would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and apply current state regulations on tobacco products to e-cigarettes. That bill, before the House Judiciary Committee, is backed by the American Lung Association of Rhode Island and the Tobacco Free Rhode Island network, said Karina Holyoak Wood, policy director for the local lung association and director of Tobacco Free Rhode Island.

Wood said the state law is needed because it would protect children sooner than the FDA regulations, which must go through a lengthy review process, but the local law could keep minors from buying e-cigarettes as soon as July.

Chafee's budget proposal would impose a tariff on e-cigarettes equal to 80 percent of the product's wholesale cost, in addition to the state's 7 percent sales tax.

 

Interview with Tobacco Free RI Director, Karina Holyoak Wood
Bristol County Press Conference April 22, 2014

New CDC Report: Children being poisoned by nicotine liquid in e-cigarettes
NBC News April 04, 2014
See video featuring interview with Tobacco Free RI Director, Karina Holyoak Wood
VIEW VIDEO

KICK BUTTS DAY ZOMBIE WALK
We had an amazingly successful Kick Butts Day Zombie Walk!!! On March 19th, 2014 over 100 teens from many communities around the state descended on the RI State House and were transformed into zombies by professional make-up artists. Thanks to all who took part and who volunteered and donated and supported this great event!

SEE PHOTOS

We made the TV news!
VIEW VIDEO

We're in The Providence Journal
READ ARTICLE

We're in The Woonsocket Call
READ ARTICLE

TFRI PARTNERS TESTIFY AT STATE HOUSE
Tobacco Free RI partners Caroline Bernal of Progreso Latino, Central Falls, and Douglas Anthony of Students Against Destructive Decisions, St. Andrews High School, Barrington, testified at the House Finance Committee on March 18, 2014 in support of increased funding for the RI Health Dept's tobacco control program. Pictured here with their representatives, Rep. Silva of Central Falls and Rep. Hearn of Barrington.

Watch their testimony, along with that of other Tobacco Free RI partners and director, Karina Holyoak Wood.

CLICK HERE for the RI General Assembly Capitol TV home page, then select the 3.18.14 House Finance Committee video recording.

URGE RETAILERS TO STOP SELLING TOBACCO
On February 26, 2014, the American Lung Association and 25 medical and public health organizations issued an open letter urging retailers – especially those with pharmacies – to go tobacco-free. The letter was sent to 6 major retailers – Walmart, Costco, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger and Safeway.
CLICK HERE to read the letter and take action.

CVS Caremark Drops Tobacco, Wants To Be Your Health Provider
NPR February 6, 2014
Smokers are shrugging off the announcement that CVS will stop selling tobacco products. The company announced the move on Wednesday as part of a strategy to promote healthy choices. But more than half of cigarettes are sold at gas stations, so the company's decision is unlikely to have much of an impact on access to tobacco.
LISTEN

CVS wins widespread praise for decision to stop selling tobacco products
Providence Journal February 5, 2014
CVS Caremark's decision to stop selling tobacco and tobacco-related products drew reaction Wednesday from government officials, antismoking advocates, the drugstore chain's competition and the nation's two largest tobacco companies.
READ ARTICLE

CVS Caremark to stop selling tobacco products
NBC 10 February 5, 2014
CVS, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products as it continues to shift its focus toward being more of a health care provider.
VIEW VIDEO

Tobacco Free RI, state delegation praise CVS Caremark's decision to phase out tobacco sales
Daily Journal February 05, 2014
A network of Rhode Island anti-tobacco organizations and other health officials in the state on Wednesday praised the decision of Woonsocket -based CVS Caremark to phase out tobacco sales at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide.
READ ARTICLE

Tobacco Free RI Applauds CVS for Decision to Quit Tobacco
GoLocal Prov February 05, 2014
Tobacco Free Rhode Island, a statewide network of over 55 organizations working to reduce tobacco use, is heralding today's announcement by national drug store giant CVS that they will no longer sell tobacco products as a major milestone on the road to significantly reducing the U.S. smoking rate.
READ ARTICLE

Thank you, CVS! Proud that a Rhode Island-based company is leading the way!
CVS has taken the lead in putting the health of its customers before profits from the sale of tobacco products. We commend CVS for eliminating the sale of all tobacco products in its 8,000 stores nationwide and for laying down the gauntlet for others. It is our sincere hope that Walgreen's, Walmart , Rite Aid/Brooks, Costco, Stop & Shop, BJ's, Hannaford's, and other stores with pharmacies will follow suit. We thank CVS for its leadership in helping to reduce tobacco use and nicotine addiction — the #1 cause of preventable death and disease.

Providence Journal coverage notes Tobacco Free RI's support for House Finance Committee Chairman Melo's Electronic Cigarette bill
Providence Journal January 9, 2014
READ ARTICLE

Tobacco Free RI Director, Karina Wood, interviewed on ABC6 Evening News, January 6, 2014, on electronic cigarettes
VIEW VIDEO

New Facts and Statistics on Tobacco and Health
from the 2014 Surgeon General's Report
READ ARTICLE

Did Rhode Island Make the Grade?
See the 2014 State of Tobacco Control Report Card for Rhode Island from the American Lung Association
CLICK HERE

 

2013

Tobacco Free RI urges Governor Chafee to adequately fund tobacco prevention in his budget for FY2015
READ OUR LETTER

R.I. ranks 42nd, Mass. ranks 37th in U.S. for tobacco prevention
Providence Business News December 10, 2013
READ ARTICLE

New study shows link between mental-health and smoking
The Providence Journal November 21, 2013
READ ARTICLE

Local Policy Change — Think Local!

Karina Wood, Tobacco Free Rhode Island
Rhode Island Prevention Resource Center
READ ARTICLE

Tobacco Free RI Applauds City of Providence Court Victory Upholding Flavored Tobacco Ban
The Providence Journal October 3, 2013
READ ARTICLE

Governor Vetoes Bill
R.I. Gov Chafee vetoes bill banning use of e-cigarettes by minors
The Providence Journal July 18, 2013
READ ARTICLE
READ GOV. CHAFEE'S VETO MESSAGE

Letter to the Editor: Smoking stinks up the beach
The Narragansett Times July 17, 2013
READ LETTER

TFRI Makes Front Page of Providence Journal
The Providence Journal July 10, 2013
"Anti-smoking groups push for veto of e-cigarette bill"

Rhode Island Ranked #2 in States that Bet on Big Sin
GoLocalProv June 28, 2013
READ ARTCLE

News From The State House

  • Tobacco Health Warning & Cessation Signage Success!
    Rep. Naughton and Senator Pichardo's signage bills, as promoted by March of Dimes, a TFRI partner organization, passed the House yesterday. The bills require that signs giving warnings about the health effects of tobacco, and information on smoking cessation resources, be prominently displayed in both English and Spanish at the point of sale of tobacco products. Congratulations to March of Dimes!
  • Cigarette Tax Increase Fails
    The proposed 90-cent increase in the cigarette tax supported by TFRI was not included in the House Budget. We want to express our huge gratitude to bill sponsors Rep. Art Handy, and Sen. Pichardo, for all their efforts to push for this measure.
  • Electronic Cigarette Bills Pass
    The tobacco industry-backed electronic cigarettes bills, sponsored in the House by Finance Chairman Melo, and sponsored in the Senate by Majority Leader Ruggerio, passed in the RI House July 1. HB 5876A passed 40: 29, and SB 622A passed 48:21
    The bills purport to protect youth from these new, addictive nicotine vapor products by prohibiting their sale to minors -- and yet do not ban the kid-friendly flavors such as "bubblegum" and "lemonade" and "chocolate", do not require e-cigarette vendors to be licensed, but punish minors who purchase, and do not tax e-cigarettes. It is a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing bill.
    TFRI and our health advocacy partner organizations argued that RI should hold this bill and wait for the FDA to issue its science-based research into these new nicotine products and announce its regulatory guidance, and then craft a new and robust regulatory bill in the fall based on sound science.
    Although we are very disappointed that this bad bill has passed, we are heartened that many Reps heard and understood our message and voted against.
    We are now appealing to Governor Chafee to veto the bill.
    Earlier in the session, after hearing the concerns of the public health advocates at the bill hearing, House Finance Chairman Melo had pledged to TFRI and the Health Department that he would not move his bill forward in the House. He also promised to work with us in the fall on a better bill. Chairman Melo explained to us that his bill, HB 5876A, had been amended and scheduled for a vote on July 1 without his permission while he was out of town and should not have been voted on. He consequently requested his bill to be killed. The companion Senate bill, SB 622A, passed in both the Senate and the House.
  • GOOD NEWS FROM MASSACHUSETTS!
    On June 26, the Massachusetts state legislature passed a $1 increase to the state's cigarette tax, bringing the new total to $3.51 a pack. The increase, which was part of a larger transportation bill, is now with Governor Patrick for his signature. Once enacted, the increase will elevate the MA state cigarette tax to the second highest in the nation (NY 1st, RI will be 3rd). It will go into effect seven days after being signed into law.

House Resolution Passes
Thank you to our legislative champion, Representative Art Handy (D-Cranston), for introducing a resolution at TFRI's request, declaring May 31 to be World No Tobacco Day in Rhode Island. The resolution was passed in the RI House of Representatives on Thursday, May 30, 2013.
READ RESOLUTION

Letter to Editor: Easy action to lower youth smoking, raise revenues
Warwick Beacon May 30, 2013
READ ARTICLE

Council backs plan to ban smoking in parks
The Woonsocket Call May 21, 2013
READ ARTICLE

E-Cigarette Legislation to Get Make Over
The Pawtucket Times, Opinion Pages May 3, 2013
READ ARTICLE

RI Kids Join Together To "Kick Butts" On March 20
GoLocalProv March 19, 2013
READ ARTCLE

Articles on Tobacco in Rhode Island Media
VIEW ARTICLES

Rhode Island Gets Mixed Grades in Annual Tobacco Control Report
With an "F" and a "D", RI falls short in protecting residents from tobacco-caused disease and death
January 15, 2013
READ ARTICLE

State of Tobacco Control: Rhode Island Report Card
January 4, 2013
READ ARTICLE

 

2012

Snuffing out tax cheaters
State cracks down on sale of cigarettes smuggled in from elsewhere to avoid R.I.'s high per-pack tax
December 28, 2012
READ ARTICLE

City of Providence Wins Court Victory Against 'Big Tobacco'
December 11, 2012
READ ARTICLE
READ THE COURT RULING

Federal Court Upholds Providence, RI, Measures to Reduce Tobacco Sales to Kids
Statement of Matthew L. Myers
President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In a win for kids and public health, a federal judge has upheld sensible restrictions adopted by the city of Providence, Rhode Island, that prohibit tobacco companies from luring kids with cheap and sweet tobacco products.

In a decision handed down Monday, Chief U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island upheld Providence ordinances that:

  • prohibit the sale of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products except in certain adult facilities (flavored cigarettes are banned by federal law); and
  • prohibit the use of coupons and multi-pack discounts (e.g., "buy-two-get-one-free") that make tobacco products cheaper and more appealing to kids.

Providence earlier this year became one of the first cities in the country to adopt such measures.

Judge Lisi found that Providence's restrictions are reasonable regulations of the sales – not the marketing – of tobacco products and serve the city's legitimate goal of reducing smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids.  She rejected arguments by tobacco companies, including Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, that the ordinances violated their First Amendment rights and are also preempted by federal and state law.

"Neither of the Ordinances at issue precludes the Plaintiffs from engaging in activities that can be considered 'commercial speech'," Judge Lisi wrote.

We applaud Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and the City Council for taking bold action to stop tobacco companies from preying on kids and for standing strong against the industry's legal attacks.  We look forward to standing with Providence against likely industry appeals.

The Providence ordinances crack down on two tactics – sweet flavors and prices discounts – used by tobacco companies to lure kids. Tobacco companies have long used candy and fruit flavorings to tempt kids and mask the harshness of tobacco products for new users.  The 2009 federal law granting the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, but the FDA has not extended this restriction to other tobacco products.  Tobacco companies have responded by introducing a barrage of new flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco products.  The Providence ordinance prohibits the sale of all other flavored tobacco products, including cigars, little cigars and smokeless tobacco, except in certain adult facilities.

Tobacco companies also know that kids are the most price-sensitive consumers and that reducing the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products makes them more affordable and appealing to kids. That is one reason why they spend billions of dollars each year on price discounts. By prohibiting the use of coupons and multi-pack discounts, Providence will increase the price of tobacco products and reduce youth tobacco use.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing nearly $100 billion in health care bills each year. We applaud the city of Providence for taking innovative action to keep these deadly products out of the hands of kids and reduce tobacco's terrible toll.

TFRI partner organizations conduct public opinion surveys that show strong support for smoke-free outdoors
November 15, 2012
READ ARTICLE

TFRI makes the front page of the Providence Journal
READ ARTICLE

Tax hike on miniature cigars among host of new Maryland laws
Health advocates hope to cut off youngsters' access to flavored mini-cigars
June 29, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Group takes aim at tobacco sales to youth in Pawtucket, North Providence
May 1, 2012
READ ARTICLE

New Smoking Policy for Westerly High School Campus
April 26, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Chariho task force will focus on tobacco
April 10, 2012
READ ARTICLE

RI Anti-Smoking Effort Aims to Help Veterans Quit
April 5, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Smokeless Tobacco Products Resemble Candy, Target Children, Prevention Leaders Say
April 3, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Chariho Middle Schoolers Kick Some Butts
March 29, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Students Taking Stand to "Kick Butts"
March 21, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Alternative Tobacco Use Outpaces Cigarette Smoking Among Teens
March 19, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Graphic Cigarette Warnings and Other Key Provisions of New Tobacco Regulation Law
March 19, 2012
READ ARTICLE

CDC Media Campaign Tells the Deadly Truth about Smoking – Initiative Will Save Lives and Reduce Health Care Costs
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
March 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today has taken a critical step to reinvigorate the fight against tobacco use – the nation's leading preventable cause of death – by launching the government's first-ever paid, nationwide media campaign to encourage smokers to quit and prevent children from starting to smoke.

This unprecedented campaign is a smart investment that will save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs. The evidence is clear: Effective mass media campaigns reduce youth tobacco use and encourage smokers to quit.

Research has found that the most effective media campaigns evoke strong emotions and realistically depict the devastating health consequences of tobacco use – just as these new ads do. Importantly, these ads offer smokers encouragement and help in quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting www.smokefree.gov.

The tobacco industry spends $10.5 billion a year – more than one million dollars every hour – to entice kids, keep smokers hooked and glamorize their deadly and addictive products. The CDC's campaign will tell the harsh truth about how devastating and unglamorous cigarette smoking truly is.

There is an urgent need for this media campaign. While the nation has made enormous progress in reducing tobacco use, smoking declines have leveled off in recent years as states have slashed funding for tobacco prevention programs and the tobacco industry has continued its aggressive marketing. Tobacco use kills 443,000 Americans and costs the nation $96 billion in health care bills each year. A large portion of these costs are passed on to taxpayers through programs such as Medicaid.

Just last week, the latest U.S. Surgeon General's report found that youth smoking is still a "pediatric epidemic," driven by tobacco industry marketing that lures children to begin and continue using tobacco. Coming nearly 50 years after the 1964 Surgeon General's report first alerted the nation to the deadly consequences of smoking, the CDC's media campaign is a long-overdue step toward ending the tobacco epidemic.

We applaud the CDC and the Obama Administration for continuing to provide much-needed national leadership in the fight against tobacco use. Funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the health care reform law, this campaign shows the great potential of the fund to improve health and reduce health care costs in the United States.

Background: Evidence that Media Campaigns Work
Substantial scientific evidence and results from numerous states show that mass media campaigns reduce the number of children who start smoking and increase the number of smokers who quit, saving lives and health care dollars. Public health authorities including the Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute, the Institute of Medicine and the CDC, have all examined the evidence and concluded that these campaigns work.

The new Surgeon General's report, released last week, concluded, "Evidence indicates that mass media campaigns can be one of the most effective strategies in changing social norms and preventing youth smoking." The report also found "strong evidence that media ads designed for adults also decrease the prevalence of smoking among youth."

A comprehensive 2008 scientific review by the National Cancer Institute concluded that "advertisements that arouse strong negative emotions perform better than those that do not. These advertisements tend to depict serious harm done by smoking or secondhand smoke in an authentic way…."

These conclusions are supported by results from states, including California, Florida, New York and Washington, that have conducted extensive media campaigns as part of their successful tobacco prevention and cessation programs. These states have reduced smoking rates far faster, and to lower levels, than the nation as a whole, and the evidence shows that media campaigns have helped drive these declines.

Nationally, research found that Legacy's truth® campaign, targeted at young people, was directly responsible for keeping 450,000 teens from starting to smoke during its first four years.

There is also growing evidence that tobacco prevention and cessation programs – including media campaigns – save money by reducing tobacco -related health care costs. A December 2011 study found that in the first 10 years of its tobacco prevention program, which included mass media, Washington State saved more than $5 in tobacco-related hospitalization costs for every $1 spent.

More information:

Youth Smoking is Focus of New Surgeon General
March 8, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Commercial RYO Machine Legislative Update
March 6, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Teens Targeted in Fight against Tobacco Use
March 5, 2012
READ ARTICLE

W.Va. Legislature Approves Tax on Cigarette Tobacco
March 1, 2012
READ ARTICLE

RI City to Delay Enforcement of New Tobacco Rules
February 24, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Side of the Rhode: Who's Hot and Who's Not in RI Politics?
February 24, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Smoking Ban Has Reduced Hospital Visits in RI
February 21, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Idaho, Rhode Island Considering Cigarette Tax Changes
February 20, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Poll: Should Smoking Be Banned At RI Beaches?
February 20, 2012
READ ARTICLE

The Buzz: Proposed smoking ban -- Officials want to prohibit smoke at beaches & park
February 17, 2012
READ ARTICLE

RI may snuff out smoking on its public beaches
February 16, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Youth support a tobacco-free Providence
RI may snuff out smoking on its public beaches
February 16, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Companies File Suit to Stop Providence Flavored Tobacco Ban
February 16, 2012
READ ARTICLE

E-Cig Explodes in 57-year-old Man's Mouth, So Are They Safe or Not?
February 16, 2012
READ ARTICLE

RI governor wants to add tobacco tax investigators
February 6, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Public Health Think Tank at State House Wednesday
February 6, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Mobile health leaders back higher taxes on cigarettes by $1 a pack
February 6, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Rep. proposes ban on smoking in public spaces
February 2, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Rhode Island fails smoking cessation report
January 31, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Chafee budget plan includes new taxes, raises in others
January 30, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Tax Hikes Proposed on All Tobacco Products as States Seek to Close Loopholes, Thwart Industry: Push toward higher taxes on cigars, smokeless, loose tobacco
January 30, 2012
READ ARTICLE

Md. Lt. Gov. Brown voices support for increase in tobacco tax
January 26, 2012
READ ARTICLE

The Impact of Rhode Island's Statewide Smoke-Free Ordinance on Hospital Admissions
and Costs for Acute Myocardial Infarction and Asthma
January 2012
READ ARTICLE

R.I. gets 'F' for tobacco spending
January 19, 2012
READ ARTICLE

The American Lung Association joined several local and state organizations at the state house today to announce their state-by-state Report Card
January 19, 2012
ABC 6 News - WLNE-TV
Rhode Island is getting mixed grades when it comes to its efforts to help people stop smoking. The American Lung Association joined several local and state organizations at the state house today to announce their state-by-state report card. They say Rhode Island gets "A"s for banning indoor smoking and enforcing the cigarette tax, but the state gets an "F" for failing to fund enough stop-smoking programs. "The Department of Health and the Tobacco Control Program have done a great job of working with community partners, given the decreasing levels of funding, but we've sort of hit rock bottom now." U.S. states' anti-tobacco efforts in 2011 were "abysmal," according to the American Lung Association. It said states' collective spending on anti-smoking programs fell 11 percent to $477 million last year from $534 million in 2010, and only two states raised cigarette taxes, Bloomberg News reported. The lung group gave grades of "F" to 43 states and the District of Columbia for funding smoking prevention programs at less than half the levels recommended in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While more than half of states have bans on smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces, no additional states passed comprehensive anti-smoking laws last year, the lung association said, Bloomberg reported. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and kills about 443,000 people a year.

RI falls short in reducing tobacco use: State must work harder
Jauary 19, 2012
WPRI-TV – Online  (Channel 12)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Rhode Island is getting mixed reviews for its efforts to reduce tobacco use. An annual report card released Thursday by the American Lung Association gave Rhode Island an "A" for its laws aimed at keeping the air smoke-free and for its high cigarette tax. However, Rhode Island received an "F" for its lack of anti-tobacco spending and a "D" for its lack of programs to help smokers quit. Rhode Island joins many other states that fell short in their responsibility to fund programs and policies that save lives and reduce tobacco-related disease.

Providence Bans Sale of Flavored Tobacco
January 13, 2012
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City Fights Against Tobacco Products
January 12, 2012
VIEW VIDEO

Mayor Taveras Signs City Council Ordinances to Protect Youth, Community Members
from Harmful Effects of Tobacco, Deceit of Tobacco Industry
January 12, 2012
READ ARTICLE

 

2011

NYC Life Expectancy Is Seen Linked to Stepped Up Anti-Smoking Policy
December 28, 2011
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England Bans Cigarette Displays in Stores
READ ARTICLE

Tobacco Taxes
Fast forward the audio feed to 06:05 and listen to the story on tobacco taxes and tobacco control spending
Marketplace
December 28, 2011
LISTEN TO AUDIO

Cigarette Stocks: The Myth of the Dying Tobacco Industry
The Motley Fool
December 19, 2011
READ ARTICLE

Could OTP Overtake Cigarettes? Industry execs weigh in on tobacco during CSP CyberConference
Tobacco E-News | CSPnet.com
December 13, 2011
READ ARTICLE

Big Three Raise Cigarette Prices: Reynolds American, Lorillard follow PM USA with increases
CSP Net
December 12, 2011
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Cigarette tax cut must be repealed
Seacoast Online
December 3, 2011
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TFRI Fact Sheet: RI must increase state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation
READ FACT SHEET

Teens swapping cigarettes for flavored mini cigars
Washington Post
November 30, 2011
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Press Release: National Report: Rhode Island Ranks 38th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco
November 30, 2011
READ PRESS RELEASE

New report critical of RI's anti-smoking funding
RI NPR
November 30, 2011
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New report says RI spends too little to fight smoking
Providence Journal
November 30, 2011
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States could see substantial savings with tobacco control programs
SF State News
November 28, 2011
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President Obama: Congratulations to Everyone Taking Part in Today's Great American Smokeout
The White House Blog
November 17, 2011
WATCH VIDEO

Teenagers trading in cigarettes for flavored cigars: Maryland starts campaign to curb cigar smoking among kids
November 17, 2011
READ ARTICLE

Five things you need to know today: Nov. 17
Woonsocket Patch
November 17, 2011
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New England officials to discuss tobacco policies
Boston Globe
November 16, 2011
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Buying Influence in RI: Companies Spent $350k on Lobbyists in October
November 14, 2011
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Cigarette smugglers cost R.I. millions in taxes, police say
Providence Journal
November 10, 2011
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Cigarette tax cut burning revenues
Nashua Telegraph
November 9, 2011
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4 Months In, Cigarette Tax Cut No Help
Nashua Telegraph
November 3, 2011
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N.H. Cigarette Tax Cut Failing to Boost Sales
Convenience Store News
November 3, 2011
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Convenience store industry zeroes in on OTP shopper
October 21, 2011
READ ARTICLE

Dissolvable Tobacco Tested in Colorado
RJ Reynolds test-markets product that comes in strip, orb and stick form.
September 22, 2011
VIEW VIDEO

Altria Group spent $2.62M lobbying Congress in 2Q
September 13, 2011
READ ARTICLE

Cigarette smuggling in New Jersey
Report finds 40% of cigarettes smoked in New Jersey are smuggled in illegally.
September 12, 2011
READ ARTICLE

20/20 finds that smoking among children in Indonesia is as rampant as the advertising that targets them. You won't believe it!
September 9, 2011
WATCH VIDEO

How We Can Protect Our Youth from Big Tobacco
August 26, 2011
READ ARTICLE

OTP Makes Strong Push for More Shelf Space
With flavored cigarettes no longer available in the U.S., flavored cigars are in line for sharp sales gains.
Convenience Store Decisions
August 26, 2011
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Resistance training can help smokers kick the habit, according to Miriam Hospital study
Lifespan
August 9, 2011
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Providence Bans Smoking in Some Public Housing
GoLocalProvidence
August 3, 2011
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FTC: Sales, Advertising, and Promotion Decline for Cigarettes, Increase for Smokeless Tobacco
FDA Law Blog
August 2, 2011
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A New Hampshire Giveaway to Big Tobacco: House Speaker O'Brien blamed for helping tobacco industry at taxpayers' expense
TobaccoFreeKids.org
July 28, 2011
READ EDITORIAL

Smoke clears to show the ugly truth
SeacoastOnline.com
July 24, 2011
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Tobacco price increase offsets N.H. tax cut
SeacoastOnline.com
July 24, 2011
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"Don't gut the tobacco control program"
Letter to the Editor by Robert S. Crausman and Patricia Nolan
June 23, 2011
READ OP/ED

House Finance cuts to tobacco control
June 23, 2011
READ PRESS RELEASE

FDA's announces new graphic warning labels
June 22, 2011
READ PRESS RELEASE

Five Questions With: Dr. Tim McAfee
May 30, 2011
READ TRANSCRIPT

RI Department of Health Radio Spot (30 sec)
For World No Tobacco Day
May 31, 2011
LISTEN NOW

Phone Can Help You Quit Smoking
Providence Journal
May 31, 2011
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RI Department of Health Radio Spot (60 sec)
For World No Tobacco Day
May 31, 2011
LISTEN NOW

Cell Phones Could Help You Quit Smoking
Providence Journal
May 31, 2011
READ ARTICLE

RI Department of Health Radio Spot (60 sec)
For World No Tobacco Day
May 31, 2011
LISTEN NOW

CDC identifies 10 public health achievements of first decade of 21st century
May 19, 2011
READ PRESS RELEASE

World No Tobacco Day – PR Activities
LEARN MORE

Michael Fine, MD: Tobacco Tax is a Win-Win for Rhode Island
Cranston Patch
May 9, 2011
READ OP/ED

Stanley Block, MD: Don't cut R.I. cigarette tax
Providence Journal
May 8, 2011
READ OP/ED

CDC: State Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws
April 21, 2011
READ PRESS RELEASE

Tri-Town Joins Nationwide Effort To Help Smokers Quit
March 17, 2011
READ ARTICLE

Prevalence of Heavy Smoking in California and the United States, 1965-2007
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrates that California has reduced overall smoking and high intensity smoking much faster than the rest of the country because it has put in place those policies and programs proven to reduce tobacco use – the nation's longest running prevention and cessation program, the nation's first statewide smoke-free law, and in earlier years, higher tobacco taxes.
READ ARTICLE

Officials Meet To Support Smokers
March 3, 2011
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Store Caught on Camera Selling Loosies
March 2, 2011
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RI looking to help smokers kick habit
Summit, improved hotline among plans
March 1, 2011
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Smoking in R.I. Less Than National Level
READ ARTICLE

 

2010

Breath of Fresh Air: 91-year-old quit smoking after 70 years
November 18, 2010
READ ARTICLE

RI's Tobacco Control Policies Paying Off!
On November 4, 2010, the CDC released state-specific adult smoking rates from the 2009 BRFSS.  It looks like Rhode Island's aggressive tobacco control policies are paying off!  Check out where we rank compared to the rest of the country:

  • RI ranks 5th lowest in adult smoking rates with 15.1% of the adult population smoking – down from 17.4% in 2007-2008 BRFSS
  • RI ranks 2nd lowest in adults using smokeless tobacco products at 1.5%
  • RI ranks 2nd lowest for smokers who are also using smokeless tobacco products at 3.0%

Here's a little more context:  Since 2005, the adult smoking rate in Rhode Island has dropped by 25% from 19.8% in 2005 to 15.1% in 2009. We owe this dramatic drop to our higher than average tobacco excise tax and our smoke-free worksite law. Go RI!!

Before we think our work is done, we need to see the bleaker big picture: Tobacco use is still the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in Rhode Island, killing 1,600 people prematurely each year. TFRI plans to lower that number, too!

CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report
November 5, 2010
READ ARTICLE

State-Specific Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Adults - United States 2009
MMWR Highlights
READ ARTICLE

How Secondhand Cigarette Smoke Changes Your Genes
Time Magazine
August 20, 2010
READ ARTICLE

FDA Marks First Anniversary of Tobacco Control Act
June 21, 2010
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm216406.htm

On First Anniversary of Tobacco Regulation Law, FDA Cracks Down on Tobacco Marketing And Sales to Kids, Bans Deceptive Light/Mild/Low-Tar Labels
June 21, 2010
http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/Script/DisplayPressRelease.php3?Display=1217

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c/o American Lung Association of Rhode Island 260 West Exchange Street Providence, RI 02903

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