Columbus, OH. – March 15, 2019 – Today Gov. Mike DeWine released his proposed FY 2020-2021 budget for Ohio. Jeff Stephens, director of government relations in Ohio for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), made the following statement in reaction.
“As an organization dedicated to saving lives, ACS CAN is pleased to see the governor taking steps to address public health initiatives in his budget. However, Ohio is missing some opportunities to enhance existing public health policies that have been proven to reduce tobacco use.
“Governor DeWine has missed an opportunity in his proposed budget to reduce the state’s burden from tobacco and reduce the number of diagnoses and deaths from tobacco-related disease in Ohio. This year alone in Ohio, 5,400 kids will become new daily smokers and 20,200 adults will die from smoking. By not increasing the state’s cigarette tax, the other tobacco products tax including e-cigarettes or properly funding the states Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program, the Governor has missed an opportunity to keep kids from starting tobacco and help those already using tobacco to quit.
“ACS CAN is encouraged by Governor DeWine’s intention to raise the age of sale for tobacco in Ohio from 18 to 21. Nationally, 95 percent of adults who smoke start before they turn 21. Restricting youth and young adult access to tobacco products promises to be a critical component to reducing initiation and a lifelong addiction. ACS CAN looks forward to working with the legislature to make sure a strong tobacco 21 bill is passed that includes meaningful enforcement provisions.
“ACS CAN applauds the Governor for protecting access to Medicaid for low-income Ohioans. Preservation of eligibility and maintaining access to health care coverage is critical to the individuals and families who depend on the program for cancer prevention, early detection, diagnostic, treatment and survivorship care services. Maintaining access to quality, affordable, accessible, and comprehensive health care coverage and services is a matter of life and survivorship for thousands of low-income cancer patients and survivors. ACS CAN is committed to ensuring that all Ohioans eligible for the state’s Medicaid program are positioned to win the fight against cancer.
“Finally, ACS CAN appreciates that Governor DeWine’s proposed budget maintains funding for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project. We look forward to working with the administration and the legislature to ensure that the final budget includes adequate funding for this life-saving cancer screening and prevention. This program provides vital cancer screenings, such as mammograms, to low-income, uninsured women in our state.”
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.