Voters across the country last week approved important state ballot measures that will expand access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Americans and reduce the spread of tobacco products.
Thanks to the hard work of ACS CAN and its volunteers, these new policies will help prevent and reduce the burden of cancer in our country.
Where you live, shouldn’t determine your ability to prevent or fight diseases like cancer, yet access to affordable health care still varies widely depending on what state you live in.
But thanks to ballot wins, 300,000 more people in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah will now have access to affordable, quality health care, including access to lifesaving health services like mammograms, colonoscopies and cancer screenings.
In Florida, voters approved a ballot measure to expand the state’s smoke-free law to include e-cigarettes. Restaurants, bars and other workplaces are already smoke-free in Florida, but now the use of e-cigarettes will also be prohibited. Studies have shown e-cigarette aerosol is hazardous and by prohibiting e-cigarettes in workplaces, we will help ensure that Florida workers won’t have to choose between their health and a paycheck.
“ACS CAN extends its deepest gratitude to the volunteers and the millions of families touched by cancer across the country who worked tirelessly to advance so many critical initiatives that will help to reduce the toll of this disease on our communities,” said Chris Hansen, ACS CAN president.
Unfortunately, we weren’t successful everywhere. In Montana, Big Tobacco spent over $18 million opposing a ballot measure that would have increased the state’s tobacco tax to fund health care programs. In South Dakota, Big Tobacco spent over $6 million on ads opposing an increase to cigarette taxes. The tax increase would have saved South Dakota nearly $150 million in health care costs and funded anti-smoking programs for adults and teens.
ACS CAN staff and volunteers worked tirelessly in both Montana and South Dakota to address the corrosive influence of Big Tobacco and, despite the losses, cancer advocates will keep fighting to reduce the influence of Big Tobacco and to limit the deadly effect of tobacco products.