The House of Representatives has passed legislation that allows a Commonwealth Health Care Corp. program to draw funds from the Tobacco Control Fund.
In a session Tuesday afternoon on Capital Hill, the House passed unanimously Sen. Justo Quitugua’s (R-Saipan) Senate Bill 21-2, which seeks to allow the CHCC’s Diabetes Care and Control Center to receive funds from the Tobacco Control Fund.
According to Public Law 13-38, only the “Department of Public Health” is eligible to draw from the fund. The Department of Public Health was later renamed to what is now known as CHCC.
The bill corrects this, while making program activities of the Diabetes Care and Control Center eligible to obtain funding.
According to P.L. 13-38, the fund can be used to support prenatal and maternal care, given that pertinent programs incorporated smoking cessation assistance and guidance on possible effects on fetal development; for comprehensive school health education programs; or for workplace-based community smoking prevention and cessation programs.
CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muna noted that this is proper, especially since smokers have a 30% to 40% higher risk for Type 2 diabetes compared to nonsmokers.
“People who have diabetes are significantly affected by smoking habits as well. High levels of nicotine from smoking can impede the efficacy of insulin, so those with diabetes [and] smoke need larger doses of insulin to control their blood sugar,” she wrote in support of the legislation.
“…Strategies to reduce tobacco use, such as the tobacco control tax, is an important strategy to reduce Type 2 diabetes in the CNMI. Likewise, when patients with diabetes are able to quit smoking, their condition can become easier to manage,” she added.