ACS CAN Marks Two-Year Anniversary of Moonshot Reignition by Calling on the White House and Congress to Prioritize Tobacco Control and Cancer Research

February 2, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – On the two-year anniversary of the reignited Cancer Moonshot, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is calling on the White House and Congress to reinforce their commitment to end cancer as we know it by taking key steps to prioritize cancer prevention and research. The administration has an opportunity to significantly reduce cancer diagnoses and deaths by finalizing proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavors in all cigars. Meanwhile, as Congress continues to debate Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations, it's imperative that lawmakers sustain and increase critical research and prevention funding in the fight against cancer.

“ACS CAN is well aligned with the Moonshot's mission and remains steadfast in our commitment to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families,” said Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of ACS CAN. “The second anniversary of the Moonshot’s reignition is the perfect opportunity for the White House and Congress to take meaningful action to launch us closer to our shared goal.”

Addressing tobacco use is a key strategy outlined in President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot plan, and the White House has an opportunity to make a significant impact on tobacco use by ending the sale of menthol in cigarettes and all flavors in all cigars. Tobacco is the number one cause of cancer deaths nationwide, and flavors like menthol have been proven to make it easier to start and harder to quit using these deadly products. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that a comprehensive end to the sale of menthol cigarettes is projected to result in 324,000 to 654,000 fewer smoking-related deaths.

“There is no scientific rationale for permitting any flavored tobacco product to remain on the market,” said Knudsen. “Given 30% of all cancer deaths are due to smoking, if we want to reach the Moonshot goals, we must meaningfully address tobacco and we cannot do that without ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. ACS CAN stands ready to work with the administration to support implementation of the FDA’s rules and urges President Biden to act without further delay.”

The need to prioritize efforts to prevent more cancers before they start and identify more lifesaving therapies extends to Congress. As lawmakers look to finalize FY2024 funding levels, a significant investment in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s proven cancer screening programs and cancer research at the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute must be made in order to continue to lower cancer mortality rates.

“Sustained and increased funding for cancer discovery and prevention has been key to saving more lives from cancer year over year and is as critical now as ever,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “For the first time, this year more than 2 million people will hear the words ‘you have cancer.’ Congress needs to meet this pivotal moment and ensure lifesaving treatments and advancements continue for those diagnosed with this disease by building on our nation’s fiscal commitment to the fight against cancer.”

ACS CAN will continue to work with the administration and Congress to end cancer as we know it, for everyone.

Media Contacts

Emily Burr
Director, Media Advocacy
Medicaid, Patient Navigation
Washington, D.C.