“Having business at the table made all the difference.” That’s how one non-profit volunteer – a veteran of the clean indoor air campaign a decade earlier - described the impact of the Chamber’s involvement in Tobacco 21|KC, part of the Chamber’s Healthy KC initiative. Knowing that most smokers start before the age of 21, when their still-developing brains are more susceptible to nicotine addiction, the Tobacco 21|KC campaign was an effort to raise the age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21. When the campaign launched in 2015, the goal was to encourage 5 cities to adopt T21 legislation by 2108. By January 2018, the count was 25.
Raising the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 will keep teens from smoking and becoming addicted as adults. Two important facts: 90 percent of smokers start by the age of 21 and the main source for underage smokers (15 to 17 ) is their 18 to 20 year old peers.
The KC Chamber launched Tobacco 21 | KC in 2015 to convince regional cities and counties to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The effort includes e-cigarettes, which are becoming increasingly popular with young people. We hoped to convince five cities to raise the age of purchase by 2018. By that time, 25 communities in the region had signed on, with more continuing to join since.
The purpose of the two-year Resilient KC campaign was to raise awareness around trauma and the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how it affects our community, to build a resilient community, and to collect ACEs data. It was a partnership between the Chamber and the group then known as Trauma KC, with support from Sesame Street in Communities. ACEs include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, and depression/mental illness in the home. Adults who have four or more ACEs are hundreds or thousands of times more likely to smoke, suffer from alcoholism, depression and obesity, and are more likely to attempt suicide.
The survey found that over half (57 percent) of adults experienced emotional abuse while growing up. Black adults experienced more physical (40 percent) and sexual abuse (37 percent) as well as emotional neglect (40 percent) and physical neglect (24 percent) during their childhood than white adults.