Today’s blog is one of a series of posts highlighting how ACS CAN is examining, prioritizing and pursuing policy interventions that ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to prevent, find, treat and survive cancer. Achieving health equity in communities nationwide is a cornerstone of our mission.
On the Ballot in Missouri
Tuesday marks a significant day for our country as we elect officeholders at all levels of government. Voters in Missouri have another important issue on the ballot that, if passed, could potentially save 22,000 lives a proposal to increase the state's lowest-in-the-country tobacco tax. A tobacco tax increase is much needed in Missouri the tax is currently just 17 cents per pack of cigarettes, and too many Missourians (21 percent of adults) smoke. Missouri has the 39th lowest life expectancy rate and some of the highest smoking, lung cancer and heart disease rates in the country. In fact, 35 people die from cancer every day in Missouri, and a third of those are attributed to tobacco use. That loss of life is tragic and it's preventable. Public health isn't the only thing faltering in the face of Missouri's tobacco scourge. Every Missourian is feeling the economic burden of tobacco use. Each Missouri household, regardless of whether or not there is a smoker in residence, pays $565 each year in public costs related to the state's tobacco use. Smoking also costs businesses in Missouri $2.51 billion in lost productivity annually. That's why ACS CAN has teamed up with several other dedicated organizations to support Proposition B a 73-cent tobacco tax increase that will save money and lives. Prop. B would prevent more than 40,000 kids in Missouri from starting to smoke and compel 33,000 adults to quit. The measure also would raise $283 million in revenue for Missouri every year to be spent on lifesaving programs that help people quit smoking, and on public education at the grade school and collegiate levels. The only opponents of Prop. B are tobacco companies and their allies, which profit from the addiction and death their products cause. Our staff and volunteers in Missouri are hard at work getting the message out to vote yes on Prop. B. They're canvassing door to door, submitting letters to local newspapers, doing radio and TV interviews and talking to newspaper reporters covering Prop. B. We've also produced several commercials that are airing across the state in the days leading up to the election. Check out one of the commercials below. Tobacco taxes are proven to be the most effective way to reduce smoking rates and prevent kids from starting the deadly habit. With the passage of Prop. B, we have a chance to make a difference not just in the state of Missouri, but across the country as well, as more states realize the powerful impact consistent, significant increases in tobacco taxes can have on the health and economy of our nation. *Images retrieved from: http://bitly.com/YxiZ38 & http://bit.ly/L03QQh