Board eyes limits on vaping marketing, cash for HIV/AIDS services in Indiana

Indiana News

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — They’re an Indiana nonprofit created by the Indiana government to help pay for statewide programs that keep you healthy and well.

On Monday, the board of directors of Healthy Hoosiers Foundation met to talk about several key issues, including how to pay for programs that reduce obesity, infant mortality and smoking rates. 

One board member said he thought it was odd to see a TV commercial for vaping on Sunday, which raised a red flag about youth vaping and how the e-cigarette products might be marketed.

Miranda Spitznagle, director of the state health department’s Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation, responded Monday: “The ability to advertise electronic cigarettes is not covered under any sort of prohibition at the federal, state or local level. I think for most of us, that’s been a little bit of a social norm change we’ve not been used to.” 

Spitznagle continued, “It is a concern. If you truly focus on youth use and really look at where some of those data are headed, I think that’s cause for concern.” 

Members of the Healthy Hoosiers Foundation also talked about ways to use millions of dollars in funding.

“The HIV money is state money that is received through rebates given to the state as a result of the 340b program,” Jeni O’Malley, Director of the Office of Public Affairs with the Indiana State Department of Health explained. “Though 340b is a federal program, the money going to the foundation is considered state money.”

That money will be used to pay for systems and programs to expand HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) services to parts of the state in need.

“One of the things we are doing is we are hiring, by contract, a grant director, name of Mike Wallace, who is a former head of the HIV/STD division here at ISDH (Indiana State Department of Health). So, he knows his stuff.” said Scott Zarazee, the foundation’s executive director. 

There’s a lot of work to be done for the state, and it’s not over. The board also wants to find a way to increase childhood immunizations.

The board’s next meeting will be 1:30 p.m. July 22  at the Indiana State Department of Health.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.