Today, the Illinois House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of legislation to raise the minimum age of tobacco sales to 21 years old. In response, Shana Crews, Illinois government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, issued the following statement:
ACS CAN to Elected Officials: It’s Past Time to Reduce the Toll of Tobacco on West Virginians
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Shares Where West Virginia Stands 20 Years After the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
CHARLESTON, W.V. – Nov. 19, 2018 – Today, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network urged lawmakers to do better when it comes to tobacco prevention and cessation funding.
“As of this month, the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) has been in place for twenty years, and West Virginia is one of two states in the country that puts no money into tobacco prevention and cessation,” said Juliana Frederick-Curry, West Virginia government relations director for ACS CAN. “The state receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually in funding from the MSA. We need to do more than hope people can quit this terrible addiction. We need to fund the resources they need to finally do it.”
The MSA was negotiated between 46 states, five U.S. territories, the District of Columbia and the participating tobacco manufacturers. The agreement meant the tobacco industry had to pay states billions of dollars annually and restrict the sale and marketing of cigarettes.
Twenty years later, West Virginia currently has the highest smoking rate in the country and is currently investing no funding in tobacco prevention and cessation programs, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that West Virginia spend $27.4 million annually to combat the health and economic consequences of tobacco. West Virginia also has one of the highest rates of tobacco-related cancer incidences and mortalities in the country.
“ACS CAN is asking lawmakers to restore funding to fiscal year 2013 levels of $5.65 million annually as a vital first step to protecting our young people from tobacco,” Frederick-Curry said. “According to projections from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, this new funding would decrease youth smoking rates by 4.8 percent, keep 3,340 kids from becoming addicted to tobacco and prevent 1,140 kids from dying prematurely from smoking.”
About ACS CAN
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.fightcancer.org.