Statement by Eduardo Sanchez, MD, chair of the Texas Public Health
Coalition and former Texas commissioner of health, in support of legislation filed
to make Texas state college campuses and state agencies tobacco-free.
“The 35-member Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC)
commends Rep. Rick Miller for filing House Bill 2652, which will rid Texas state
college campuses and state buildings of harmful tobacco smoke, e-cigarette
vapor, and tobacco products.
“The costs are far too great not to take
“We all know it: Tobacco kills. In fact, tobacco
use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in Texas and in the
United States, and close to 24,500 Texans — our friends and neighbors — die every
year of tobacco-related causes.
“Tobacco drains our wallets, too. In Texas, taxpayers
spend an estimated $12.2 billion each year on otherwise-unnecessary medical
care expenditures and lost productivity treating tobacco-related diseases.
“As physicians and public health and
prevention advocates, we know we are going to hurt ourselves in the long-run if
we don’t make important investments — now — to support the public’s health. HB 2652
would prohibit smoking and use of any tobacco-related products at all of our
state’s buildings, facilities, and higher education campuses and ensure that
Texans are no longer penalized for the cost of preventable illnesses and
“We should join the 27 states with 100-percent
smoke-free provisions in workplaces, restaurants, and bars.
“Texans should not have to suffer health
consequences, and taxpayers should not have to suffer fiscal consequences that
are preventable through tobacco cessation. Let’s support HB 2652 to rid our state
campuses and state buildings of deadly tobacco use.
“TPHC lists ‘Ensure all state buildings,
facilities, and higher education campuses are tobacco-free’ as a top priority
this legislative session, with good reason.”
The Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC) is a coalition of more than 35
health professional organizations and health-focused organizations including the Texas Medical Association (TMA),
dedicated to disease prevention and health promotion. The coalition works to
reduce preventable disease by advancing effective public policies that promote
a healthy and safe environment for all Texas residents.
TMA is the largest state
medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 physician and
medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county
medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to
improve the health of all Texans.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell:
(512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
(512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
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