Cancer survivors, volunteers call for strong tobacco control legislation
The American Cancer Society marked the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 21, by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit. Smokers were encouraged to quit, even if just for the day, to take an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Nearly 1 in every 5 adults smoke. As of 2010, there were also 13.2 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.2 million who smoke tobacco in pipes, which is other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.
With all that said, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) also celebrated the American Cancer Society’s 38th Great American Smokeout this week by calling on lawmakers to protect the health of Louisiana residents by passing strong tobacco control legislation. This includes comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws, increasing tobacco excise taxes and increasing or preserving state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
Amber Stevens, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said a tobacco tax is a win-win, as it not only increases revenue, but also results in fewer tobacco users, fewer tobacco-related deaths and fewer youth who ever start the deadly habit.
The American Cancer Society launched the Great American Smokeout more than 30 years ago as a platform to encourage smokers to quit. Since then, the program has expanded to not only encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, but also to encourage all Americans to advocate for comprehensive smoke-free laws, increased tobacco excise taxes and increased funding for tobacco cessation programs.
ACS CAN works in partnership with state policymakers across the country to ensure that tobacco use is addressed through a comprehensive approach including: raising the price of tobacco products; implementing comprehensive smoke free policies; and fully funding and sustaining evidenced-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
The use of tobacco products remains the nation’s number one cause of preventable death, killing more than 400,000 Americans and costing $96 billion in direct health care costs each year. States with comprehensive tobacco control programs experience faster declines in cigarette sales, smoking prevalence, and lung cancer incidence and mortality than states that do not invest in these programs.
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.
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