New York State / New York City Legislative Priorities

Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote cancer prevention, early detection of cancer, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. Lawmakers make many decisions that impact the lives of New Yorkers touched by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the lawmakers in support of the following priorities:

2020 New York State Legislative Priorities

PDF iconDownload NYS legislative priorities here [PDF]

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco

Tobacco is a deadly addiction.  Despite New York’s success in decreasing overall smoking rates, smoking kills nearly 23,000 New York State residents each year.  Lung cancer remains New York’s number one cancer killer.  In addition, approximately 27% of New York state high school students and 37% of high school seniors report using e-cigarettes.

  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding:  Fund and sustain evidence-based, statewide tobacco use prevention and cessation programs at $60 million.
  • Tobacco Taxes: Increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack with an increase in the tax on other tobacco products to parallel the new rate. Increasing the price of cigarettes and all other tobacco products through regular and significant tobacco tax increases helps to keep kids from starting to use tobacco and helps adults quit. Revenues from the tobacco taxes should be used to fully fund and sustain evidence-based, statewide tobacco use prevention and cessation programs.
  • Flavored Tobacco:  Restrict the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
  • Access to Tobacco Cessation: Ensure counseling services provided by the NYS Quitline are reimbursed by Medicaid.  Ensure commercial plans provide a comprehensive cessation benefit that covers individual, group, and telephone counseling and all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications without cost-sharing or other barriers to accessing care.
  • Coupons: Eliminate the use of tobacco coupons/discounts that undermine current state taxes.
  • Retail Density: Support policies to reduce tobacco retail and density including proximity to schools and pharmacies.

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

Cancer Screenings Save Lives. All New Yorkers deserve to have access to a screening that could save their lives.

  • Cancer Services Program:  Provide funding of $25.3 million for evidence-based Cancer Services to provide screening, patient navigation and education.  

Quality of Life

  • Protecting Access to Pain Medication for Cancer Patients: ACS CAN will monitor legislative proposals regarding the prescribing of opioid pain medications and advocate for a balanced approach that promotes safe prescribing and dispensing of pain management medication that does not interfere with access to these medicines for the cancer patients and survivors who need them.

Healthy Eating and Active Living Environments (HEALE)

Obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition are major risk factors for cancer, second only to tobacco use. In New York, 8.9 million adults struggle to maintain a healthy weight, along with one-third of children across the state.

  • Establish science-based nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold or served in schools.
  • Increase the quantity and improve the quality of physical education in K-12 schools, supplemented by additional school-based physical activity.
  • Establish nutrition guidelines for foods and beverages provided or sold in government buildings.
  • Improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across the state.  
  • Support policies to promote physical activity and walkable communities.
  • Establish a statewide model school wellness policy as a resource for schools.
  • Support policies to promote healthy eating in restaurants.

Ensuring Access to Quality Care

Cancer is often a very expensive and complicated condition to treat, requiring a team of medical professionals working together to help a patient.  Access to appropriate medication, treatment and support services is essential for treatment and prevention.

  • Network Adequacy: ACS CAN will support legislation regarding health insurance network adequacy to help ensure that cancer patients and cancer survivors have access to appropriate medical specialists they may need.
  • Medication Access: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation to prohibit mid-year changes to prescription drug coverage or out-of-pocket costs during the plan year. 
  • Improve HPV Vaccination Rates: Provide funding for HPV provider education and community outreach.

2020 New York City Legislative Priorities

PDF iconDownload NYC legislative priorities here [PDF]

Healthy Eating and Active Living    

  • Healthy Food Funding—To improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across New York City ACS CAN requests that New York City invest in programs that will increase the availability and affordability of healthy foods. The City should provide money to help New Yorkers afford fresh fruits and vegetables by expanding the total amount of funding available for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentives such as Health Bucks. The City should also invest in healthy corner store initiatives so that existing corner stores can offer healthier food options to their customers and create a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) to help food establishments open, expand, and improve in neighborhoods that need food and jobs the most.

  • Healthy Food Zoning—New York City should use its zoning powers to address the health and welfare of residents who do not have access to healthy food. This includes adopting zoning policies that encourage healthy food options and limit commercial food retail, such as fast food businesses, that are contributing to negative health outcomes and increasing health disparities.

  • Nutrition—New York City should expand and strengthen its nutritional guidelines for government buildings and city owned venues, including beaches, parks, and other places where youth congregate. New York City should also update its school nutrition standards to strengthen them in the face of rollbacks of school nutritional standards by the federal government. In addition, New York City should allocate funding for the Food-Ed Hub at the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy.

  • Sugary Drink Consumption—New York City should take steps to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks.  This should include establishing a tax of at least two cents per ounce on all sugary drinks and dedicate the revenue to public health programs that will help New Yorkers live at a healthy weight, and restrict the sale of sugary drinks at public parks, beaches and in schools, including school events before and after the school day.

  • Physical Education—Support policies to promote physical education in schools including compliance with current regulations. This includes continuing to provide funding for physical education teachers and programs and expanding capital spending to renovate and build more physical education space. 

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

  • Colon Cancer Screening—New York City should renew its commitment to reducing colon cancer death rates by dedicating funding in 2020-2021 to the NYC Community Care Project operated by the NYC DOHMH. 

  • Reducing Barriers to Care—New York City should ensure that reliable transportation to medical appointments is not a barrier to care by providing financial support to patients in need in order to cover their transportation costs.

  • HPV vaccine promotion—New York City should back up its commitment to cancer prevention by establishing a comprehensive school requirement for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as part of a multi-year fully funded campaign focused on educating health care providers and parents on the importance of the HPV vaccine. 

  • Sun safety—New York City should provide city funding to the New York City Parks Department for a citywide program to provide free sunscreen at all New York City parks, pools and beaches. 

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco 

  • Smoking Cessation—New York City should earmark a substantial portion of the revenue generated by the City’s 10 percent tax on non-cigarette tobacco products to a smoking cessation program at the New York City Housing Authority. Additionally, New York City should allocate substantial funding to the NYC DOHMH for a comprehensive smoking cessation campaign.

  • Menthol Cigarette Restriction—New York City should close the loophole in its 2009 flavored tobacco ban and restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes.  

Promote Cancer Research

  • New York City should invest in cancer research by establishing a New York City Commission on Cancer Research (NYCCCR) to promote significant and original research in New York City into the causes, prevention, treatment and palliation of cancer and serve as a resource to providers and consumers of cancer services. Additionally, New York City should make a substantial annual contribution to the New York Fund for Innovation in Research and Scientific Talent (NYFIRST) to bring top scientific talent to New York City’s leading medical schools, teaching hospitals and cancer research centers