Kansas City

How Did Tobacco 21 Pass in Kansas City? With a Unique Coalition.

The movement to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21 in Kansas City is a tale of collaboration, casting, and finding the best messengers.  It’s about telling the right story at the right time. 

Tobacco 21, or “T21,” is about raising the age of sale from 18 to 21 years of age and has been around for at least ten years. From a health point of view, making the case is relatively easy.  Since 95% of smokers start by the age of 21, this policy stops a harmful addictive behavior before it even starts.  It may be more legally complicated in your community, but in most places, it can be passed with a simple ordinance. What made our effort in Kansas City different was the makeup and leadership of our Tobacco 21 campaign team, which included hundreds of members of the business community, legislative bodies, public health officials, and local youth.  The synergy of this group helped move Kansas City to pass T21.

In Public Health, Good Data are Essential – But Numbers Alone Don’t Always Tell the Whole Story

Welcome to the Big Cities Health Coalition's Front Lines Blog! We’re excited to launch it, and in future months, you’ll find posts from our members, the leadership of 28 of the nation’s largest, most urban health departments, and other key leaders in the field of public health. Here at the Coalition, we focus on research, policy and systems change, and advocacy. Integral to all of these is the availability of timely, accurate local data that is comparable across jurisdictions, so that we can gain insight into conditions on the ground. While there are plenty of resources for data at the state or county level, city level data is hard to come by. And that’s one of the gaps in the field that we’re seeking to fill. We recently published the Big Cities Health Inventory, where we gathered public health data from 26 member cities, and for the first time, put them in one place to allow for comparisons  on various health indicators. The inventory also offers 12 “Winnable Battles Case Studies” that highlight some of the ways cities are tackling key health battles by executing cutting-edge public health practices with large-scale impact.