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PNS Daily Newscast - November 13, 2019 


Public impeachment hearings in Washington; dreamers protest in Texas; roadless wilderness areas possibly at risk around the country; and an ozone indicating garden, at the North Carolina Governor's Mansion.

2020Talks - November 13, 2019 


Supreme Court hears DACA arguments, and likely will side with the Trump administration, but doesn't take up a gun manufacturer's appeal. Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford drops out of presidential race; and former President Jimmy Carter recovers from brain surgery.

Daily Newscasts

TN Cancer Patients, Survivors Rally for Tougher Smoking Laws

Tennessee spent $6.2 million in state funds for tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2018, just 8.2 percent of the CDC's annual spending target. (American Cancer Society)
Tennessee spent $6.2 million in state funds for tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2018, just 8.2 percent of the CDC's annual spending target. (American Cancer Society)
February 21, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than 37,000 Tennesseans are likely to find out they have cancer this year, and the American Cancer Society and its advocates gathered Wednesday at the State Capitol to ask legislators to zero in on smoking as the largest cause of the disease.

Last year, smoking-related health issues cost the state almost $3 billion. However, nearly $4 million was zeroed out of last year's budget for tobacco-cessation and smoking-prevention programs for youths.

This includes the Baby and Me program, designed to help pregnant women quit smoking, says Emily Ogden, government-relations director for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.

"In Tennessee, a third of all cancers are caused by smoking, which is why it's a huge issue for us," Ogden insists. "It's one of the number one things you can do to help prevent yourself from getting cancer, or a loved one from getting cancer."

The group also asked lawmakers to support Tobacco 21 legislation, with strong enforcement provisions that increase the minimum age for sale for tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, to 21.

In 2017, Tennessee high school students reported smoking at a rate higher than the national average.

Two bills, SB 1200 and HB 1454, propose to raise the legal age for tobacco use to 21, with "stiff fines and revocation of licenses." Ogden says that minimum age is important since so many started smoking before age 16.

"And what we know is that 95 percent of people who smoke today started smoking before the age of 21," she explains. "So if we can keep people from smoking until they get to age 21, the odds of them taking up this habit are not as likely."

Legislative analysts have projected the measure would cost state and local governments about $10 million a year in lost sales-tax revenue if adopted.

It's estimated that Tennessee received more than $400 million in Tobacco Master Settlement payments last year, but ranks lowest in recommended prevention funding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Antionette Kerr, Public News Service - TN