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Achieving Health Equity: Breaking the Commercial Tobacco Industry's Cycle of Addiction, Death, and Environmental Degradation, 2023–2024

TEROC Recommendations to Policymakers

The TEROC Plan serves as strategic plan for partners and allies in California but can also be used by policymakers when prioritizing a tobacco-related policy agenda. TEROC recognizes that change cannot happen without comprehensive policy efforts at the state, local, and federal level. Therefore, TEROC has dedicated a section of the 2023-2024 Plan to policymakers as a call to action for critical policy efforts in California that are related to each of the eight Plan objectives. The following policy recommendations can be used to guide policy and funding priorities that are necessary for ending the commercial tobacco epidemic in California.

Objective 1: Reduce Disparities Related to Commercial Tobacco Use

  1. Prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, with no exemptions.
  2. Ensure policies do not have unintended consequences for priority populations, such as language that penalizes tobacco users.

Objective 2: Strengthen Capacity for Ending the Commercial Tobacco Epidemic

  1. Ensure that tobacco control efforts, including research, are sufficiently funded.
  2. Allocate funds to develop pipelines for public health and tobacco control research careers, especially for underrepresented communities.

Objective 3: Broaden the Public Health Framework for Tobacco to Address the Intersection of Tobacco, Cannabis, and Other Emerging Products

  1. Ensure that tobacco and cannabis policies are comprehensive and do not include exemptions for products touted as "less harmful" or "modified risk."
  2. Include prohibitions for vaping and cannabis use in all policies that restrict or prohibit the use of tobacco products or smoking, which is consistent with Proposition 64.

Objective 4: Prevent Youth and Young Adults from Initiating Commercial Tobacco Use and Empower Them as Advocates

  1. Adopt policies to reduce youth and young adult access to tobacco products, including increasing the price of tobacco products, eliminating online sales, and imposing zoning restrictions on tobacco retailers near schools and other youth-oriented facilities.
  2. Make tobacco and cannabis less appealing to youth and young adults by limiting brand placement and paid promotion in movies and streaming media.

Objective 5: Smokefree Environments

  1. Close regulatory gaps in existing law to protect all Californians from secondhand smoke to ensure that all indoor and outdoor workspaces, multiunit housing, and most outdoor public areas are smokefree.
  2. Increase funding to conduct research on the impact of thirdhand smoke (the off gassing of toxic smoke and aerosol particles) and ways to mitigate exposure.

Objective 6: Reduce Tobacco Product Waste

  1. Reduce tobacco product waste in the environment by regulating the source of the waste through tobacco sales bans and retailer density policies.
  2. Regulate tobacco products as hazardous waste, including requiring hazardous waste signage at the point-of-sale and specific handling instructions.

Objective 7: Motivate and Help Tobacco Users to Quit

  1. Include culturally tailored tobacco cessation support when advancing for tobacco policies, and vigorously counter industry strategies that delay tobacco cessation.
  2. Establish and require the use of electronic health records (EHR) systems to collect accurate data on patients' use of tobacco and cannabis.

Objective 8: Countering Industry

  1. End the sale of all commercial tobacco products and ensure that emerging products and cannabis do not fill the gap left by reductions in the availability of tobacco products.
  2. Do not work with, accept funding from, or allow influence from tobacco or cannabis industries on public policy.

Download: TEROC Recommendations to Policymakers, 2023–2024, (PDF)

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