THE TOBACCO LOBBY IS MAKING A KILLING

Look, we know you’re busy, and we’re grateful for your attention, so we’ll keep this brief. The tobacco lobby’s money is influencing how Louisiana’s legislators vote on tobacco-related issues.

We want a smoke-free Louisiana, and we’re letting our legislators know that the time has come for them to vote in our best interests—not the best interests of their campaign funds. 

-1-What Needs to Happen

Louisiana’s legislators must approve legislation to eliminate smoking from all public spaces, including bars and casinos.

-2-Why it needs to happen

Smoking and secondhand smoke are killing us, but not before we pay millions in tobacco-related healthcare costs.

-3-Why it hasn't happened

The tobacco lobby pays our legislators to influence their votes and keep smoking legal in as many places at they can.

What we can do to make it happen:

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1 Question Poll

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Sign the petition

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Contact your lawmaker

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Change Your Brain

It only takes 10 seconds for nicotine to change your brain chemistry.

These 10 second videos are here to help you prevent that from happening.

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Behind The Times

States started passing smoke-free policies in 1990, to protect their residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke. These policies have been taking hold all across the nation ever since — everywhere but here.

Louisiana still hasn’t made its public spaces smoke-free, even after nearly 30 years or precedents being set by other states. If you need a reminder of just how much time has passed since the smoke-free movement started, take a stroll down memory lane with us.

See where we are now

If They’re Smoke-Free, Why Aren’t We?

All Louisiana employees deserve smoke-free workplaces. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to the cigarette makers: 

“The vast majority of adults in the U.S. don’t smoke. We believe this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it,” said David Howard, spokesman for Reynolds American (maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes), about making their offices smoke-free.

“Indoor smoking restrictions, bottom line, are the norm today and most people expect a smoke-free business environment,” Howard said. “We simply felt that it was the right thing to do to better align our tobacco use policies with the realities of what you’re seeing in society today.”

That’s right—the offices of major cigarette makers are smoke-free. And, Howard shared this info in 2014. That means Louisiana is four years behind the cigarette companies when it comes to making sure all Louisianans have access to smoke-free workplaces.

We need to do better—to be better—than this. Smoke-free workplaces mean less smoking-related illness, lower healthcare costs and increased productivity. (Labor productivity in states with completely smoke-free workplaces averages 5% increases annually, but states like LA that still allow smoking in workplaces average only 1% annual growth.)

Do you think Louisiana’s ready to do the right thing? 

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Nowhere To Go But Up

Each year, the United Health Foundation performs a comprehensive ranking of each state and their overall health. Using measures like rates of obesity, air pollution and insurance coverage, the health of each state population is calculated and ranked.

In 2017, Louisiana landed in 49th place. The biggest negative impact on our state health ranking was smoking, by a long shot. With 22% of our adult population smoking, we have nearly double the number of smokers than the healthiest state (that’s Massachusetts with 13.6%).

Louisiana routinely lands at the bottom of national heath rankings like these, and we pay $1.89 billion in healthcare to treat smoking-related illness each year.

Meanwhile, other states that have comprehensive smoke-free policies on the books have an average health ranking of #17. That’s in the top third, 32 spots ahead of where we are now.

We’re in a position to become a much healthier state by adopting a statewide smoke-free policy. There’s a bill on its way to the Health and Welfare committee that could make Louisiana smoke-free. If it passes, then it’s one step closer to becoming our reality. Follow along, and let the committee members know that you support a smoke-free future for Louisiana.

Committee Members

A Smoke-Free Future

There’s a bill heading to the Louisiana legislature that could kick smoking out of our bars and casinos for good. This is what we’ve been waiting for, so we all need to get vocal—call your legislators and let them know that you’re ready for Louisiana to be smoke-free.

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Smoke-Free Logic

Allow us to present an analogy that illustrates the smoke-free issue in a different way. Smoking is a health risk. We know this. Things like fire-breathing and chainsaw-juggling are also fundamentally dangerous, but people are free to do these things, just like they’re free to smoke.

There are rules in place that prevent people from breathing fire and juggling chainsaws in public spaces where they’d be putting others at risk. So, why don’t those same rules apply to smoking around other people? Secondhand smoke is a health risk, too, but smoking in bars and casinos is still legal in Louisiana and the public is still in harm’s way. We can’t figure it out. Can you?

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A Historically Bad Deal

In Louisiana, for every dollar of tobacco lobby political contributions, we spend $6,533 in smoking-caused healthcare costs. Which means that money from the tobacco lobby influences our legislators, and they vote to keep smoking legal in our public spaces. Our smoking and secondhand smoke rates stay high, and we stay sick. The cycle repeats, and Louisianans lose every time.

How did we get here? When did it become acceptable to allow special interests to outweigh the public’s best interests?

The founding fathers would have had none of it—and neither should we.

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Straight from Big Tobacco’s Mouth

The tobacco industry and its lobbyists will do and say just about anything to protect their profits. Even in the face of irrefutable science, insurmountable evidence, studies, warnings and testimonials—and millions of deaths caused by tobacco use—they’re still determined to shill for their product using any means necessary. Their alternate reality would be entertaining if it weren’t literally killing us.

We collected a few clips of industry talking heads portraying tobacco as safe to prove our point. Even on camera, they’re not afraid to bend the truth or outright lie if it means they can avoid new tobacco regulations and protect their ability to sell a product that kills more than half of its users. And protect their ability to make a killing while doing it.

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The Tobacco Lobby’s Last Stand

You have to hand it to the tobacco industry—for the better part of a century, they had a product that everyone wanted. From the early 1900s all the way to 1950, per capita cigarette consumption rose steadily—at its peak, a full 47% of American adults were smokers.

But that’s when things started to get rocky—the connection between smoking and illness became universally accepted, and smokers started quitting. Enter the tobacco lobbyists, whose sole purpose is to protect the tobacco industry’s profits and stem the loss of active smokers however they can. Here’s a look at what they’ve been up to since the link to smoking and dying was made.

FIGHT BACK

What Does $1.89 Billion Look Like?

Louisianans spend $1.89 billion each year in tobacco-related healthcare costs. That’s a really big number. So, what does $1.89 billion look like? It looks like 382 private jets. Or a million fishing boats. Or 7.3 million bicycles. Or, $404 in cold hard cash for every person in Louisiana.

It’s an incredible sum. And we shouldn’t ever be so sick as a state that it costs that much to care for ourselves. But that’s the toll that tobacco takes on Louisiana each and every year.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that none of us was made sick by tobacco or secondhand smoke, and we had $1.89 billion to use some other way. How would you spend it?

Share your idea.

LET’S RUN THE NUMBERS.

Louisiana's legislators are elected to serve the interests of the people. But when political contributions from the tobacco lobby roll in to the tune of nearly $300,000, the lobby's interests start to carry more weight than the voters' opinions.

Want to find out specifically how much they think you're worth? Give the calculator a whirl.

Legislator Look-Up

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Watch this. Or read lots of charts and graphs that show the connection between tobacco lobby contributions, tobacco industry profits and Louisiana’s health problems.

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THE LOBBYIST PLAYLIST

Money in politics. Smoking in public spaces. That’s a tobacco lobbyist’s idea of harmony. This collection of songs seems right up their alley—the alley of paying to play, choosing profit over people's health and buying votes by the pack.

Listen Now

I LIVE FOR THE MUSIC. THEY CUT OUR LIVES SHORT.

The culture of Louisiana is what makes it such a great place to live. And a big part of that culture is our musicians—we can hear them playing live in our local venues any day of the week.

But smoking is still allowed in most of the bars and gaming facilities where bands play, so our musicians are forced to breathe in secondhand smoke while they work if they want to stay in Louisiana to try to earn their living.

Without our music, the culture of Louisiana wouldn't be the same. Tobacco lobby money shouldn’t matter more to our policy makers than the health, wellbeing and livelihood of our local musicians. 

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