tobacco

The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it will seek a ban on the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes.

The announcement came as the agency officially released a detailed plan to also restrict the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes. It also wants to ban flavored cigars.

Taxing soda is an increasingly popular approach to raising revenue while combating obesity, which affects 40 percent of American adults. But the sweetened-beverage industry is not about to go away quietly.

Ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, the soda industry poured millions of dollars into fighting taxes on sugary drinks. In recent years, it has been largely successful in shutting down new taxes, except in a handful of major cities.

Montana legislators expanded Medicaid by a very close vote in 2015. The measure passed with the condition that the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in the state would expire in 2019 unless lawmakers voted to reapprove it.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Babies who begin life with a long hospital stay are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke. That’s galvanized health officials at one children’s hospital to focus on laying aside stigma when they ask parents a simple question: ‘Do you smoke?’

One of those parents is Tabitha Majors, who has had a tough three weeks. She’s sitting in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where her newborn son Brayden is recovering from surgery.

Lindsay Fox / EcigaretteReviewed.com

Newly published research suggests that more than 10 percent of Oklahomans vape–the highest rate in the country.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine found that states with strong tobacco-control laws, like smoke-free air rules and taxes on cigarettes have fewer e-cigarette users.

The study’s lead author Omar El-Shahawy says Oklahomans are more likely to try e-cigarettes because smoking is socially acceptable and allowed in a lot of locations.

Nicotine will now be at the center of the Food and Drug Administration's effort to regulate tobacco, the agency said, announcing that it will aim to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to a level that will help curb addiction.

It would be the first time in the agency's history that it has sought to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

Brian Hardzinski / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Two of the largest tobacco companies in the U.S. are suing Oklahoma over the state’s new cigarette fee.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. filed a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Wednesday, along with several Oklahoma companies and individuals.

In the brief, plaintiffs argue the $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee, or the “Smoking Cessation Act,” “flagrantly violates” the Oklahoma constitution.

The fee is scheduled to take effect in August, and would generate about $215 million per year for the state.

It's time to talk about ballot measures. Or rather, those other things voters are deciding on Nov. 8.

This November, there are 156 measures being voted on in 35 states and the District of Columbia. California is in the lead, with a whopping 17 measures on its ballot.

Although these ballot measures are voted on state by state, there are some big national themes.

Each time New York state increased its tobacco tax — now at $4.35 per pack of cigarettes — calls to the state's Quitline spiked.

In New York City, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg hiked the tax even more.

"I was so angry with him, I could hardly afford it," says Elizabeth Lane, a Harlem resident who paid $12 a pack. "I had to beg, borrow and steal to get money to buy cigarettes."

Nicola Lindson-Hawley remembers how hard it was for her mom to stop smoking.

"One of the reasons I find this topic very interesting and why I went into it was because my mom was a smoker when I was younger," says Lindson-Hawley, who studies tobacco and health at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford.

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