Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

American Heart Association Opposes Bill to Reduce Penalties for Selling Tobacco to Minors

Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler (pictured), cardiologist and American Heart Association State Advocacy Committee member, testified today before the House State Government Operations Committee on HF 962. The bill would reduce penalties for businesses who sell tobacco to minors. The proponents argued that it was too onerous to suspend a business's tobacco license if they sold to a minor--state law requires temporary suspension after the THIRD TIME THE BUSINESS IS CAUGHT SELLING TO A MINOR IN A 24 MONTH PERIOD.

Dr. Baechler argued: "There is absolutely no good reason to scale back the laws that keep tobacco out of the hands of our kids." Dr. Baechler went on to inform the committee, "Nearly 90 percent of all adult smokers begin smoking while in their teens, or earlier, and two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19."

One third of current high school smokers will die prematurely from tobacco-related causes. "In Minnesota that means over 18,000 of those 56,000 kids who are current smokers will die from smoking," said Dr. Baechler.

The bill passed the State Government Operations Committee, but was referred to the Health and Human Services Reform Committee where we have a further opportunity to highlight the harms of this legislation and hopefully ensure this misguided proposal is cut short.

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