smoking

Vaping at Kansas schools is reaching epidemic proportions, prompting the Kansas State Board of Education to launch a concerted campaign against it.

“This thing hit us like a tsunami,” said Jeff Hersh, assistant superintendent at Goddard Public Schools. “Quite honestly it’s very alarming.”

State senators are considering a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Texas from 18 to 21. 

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On July 1, the State of Oklahoma increased prices on cigarettes and little cigars. As a result, reports The Norman Transcript, registrations on the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline have now doubled. 

According to the most recent numbers, the helpline saw an 85 percent increase in registrations in the first four weeks of July compared to data from the same period last year.

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The rate of people who smoke cigarettes in Amarillo remains higher than the national rate, reports The Amarillo Globe-News. The city is home to almost 32,000 smokers, and collectively, they cost the city over $2 million annually.

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The percentage of Oklahomans who smoke is lower than ever before, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control.

As KFOR reports, in 2015 a little over 22 percent of Oklahoma residents smoked tobacco. As of last year, the rate had fallen to 19.6 percent.

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A movement has long been in the works to raise the legal smoking age to 21. But this year, as The Dallas Morning News reports, advocates for the law may actually have the political backing to accomplish their mission.

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Tobacco sales to minors have doubled in Oklahoma over the past four years, reports The Duncan Banner.

The rise in sales was detected by more retailers selling tobacco products to undercover minors during random checks throughout the state. This year’s non-compliance rate of 14 percent is more than twice the seven percent recorded only four years ago.

Emily Deshazer / Topeka Capital-Journal

Over the past 18 years Kansas has been paid slightly more than $1 billion by tobacco companies, officials said Monday. As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the money has come from annual payments to compensate for the health consequences of smoking. The money came as part of a 1999 legal settlement to resolve claims by 45 states, including Kansas.

Megan Hart / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Kansas health advocates lauded the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Thursday to regulate electronic cigarettes, while those in the vaping industry pointed to harm to businesses and people trying to quit smoking.

Issue Brief: E-Cigarette Policy, Regulation and Marketing

Mar 11, 2016
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From the Kansas Health Institute:

Issue brief #3 in a series of three on e-cigarettes.

Despite a sharp rise in the use of e-cigarettes and unanswered questions about their potential health effects, there is currently little regulation at the state or federal levels of their sales and marketing. While Kansas and other states explore various approaches to regulation, some Kansas communities have taken action to limit their use in public places. The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) has released the third and final issue brief in the series on e-cigarettes, entitled, E-Cigarette Policy, Regulation and Marketing.

In 2012, Kansas state legislators enacted a ban on the sale to and possession of e-cigarettes by minors (48 other states and the District of Columbia have done the same). In 2015, Kansas policymakers approved a sales tax on e-cigarettes at the rate of $0.20/milliliter of e-liquid (HB 2109), which goes into effect July 1, 2016.

Tobacco Use in Oklahoma Is Declining

Nov 10, 2015
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The smoking rate among adults in Oklahoma has reached a new low, reports member station KGOU. According to a press release from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the number of adult smokers dropped by almost 80,000 between 2013 and 2014. Over the last four years, the number of smokers in Oklahoma has declined by almost 20 percent.

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The federal health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from considering pre-existing health conditions when setting premiums for consumers. But they are able to consider age, location and tobacco use.

And that means some Kansans who smoke are charged higher insurance rates, which may discourage low-income smokers from getting health coverage, according to a new issue brief from the Kansas Health Institute.

Kansas lawmakers try to get handle on hookah

Mar 16, 2015
Andy Marso

Kansas legislators are trying to determine what they should do, if anything, to regulate hookah.

But first, several of them have to determine exactly what hookah is.

“Having lived a very sheltered life in southeast Kansas, I had to Google this to even find out what it was,” Rep. Jim Kelly, a Republican from Independence, said during an information hearing on the subject last week.

Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco.

To Hani Chahine, they’re also a focal point for social gatherings and commerce.