Ohio commission recommends tobacco tax hike, crib bumper ban to address infant mortality

In an effort to combat Ohio’s high rate of infant mortality, a state commission is recommending that lawmakers increase the tobacco tax, raise the tobacco-buying age to 21 and ban the sale of crib bumpers (Source: “Ohio’s infant mortality panel recommends tobacco tax hike,” Associated Press via Lima News, March 22, 2016).

In a report released this week, the Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality laid out a series of recommendations aimed at lowering infant mortality rates in the state.

Other recommendations from the commission include:

  • Publishing statewide infant mortality data each quarter.
  • Requiring cultural competency training for health care providers.
  • Permitting pharmacists to administer the hormone progesterone and contraceptive injections of Depo-Provera.
  • Specifying pregnancy as a priority in emergency shelter and housing tax credit programs.
  • Placing pregnant women in family homeless shelters rather than single adult shelters.
  • State Sen. Shannon Jones, a Springboro Republican who co-chaired the commission, said Ohio’s infant mortality problem disproportionately affects low-income black families in urban neighborhoods that have “largely been left behind as the economy has grown.”