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Addressing Tobacco Related Health Disparities Should Be Top Priority in Gov. Murphy’s Budget Address

February 19, 2020

TRENTON, NJ – February 19, 2020 - Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers will tune into Gov. Murphy’s budget address on February 25th, to see if he will commit to closing the loopholes created by not ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products. While legislation restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes was recently signed into law, menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products such as strawberry flavored cigars remain on the market, creating a troubling health disparity for many youth.

A statement from Samantha DeAlmeida, director of New Jersey government relations, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

“Gov. Murphy has the opportunity to make clear his commitment to protecting New Jerseyans from falling prey to Big Tobacco. Nearly 6,100 New Jerseyans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020.  Over 900,000 adults in New Jersey smoke and 2,500 kids become new daily smokers each year. By ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, and smokeless tobacco. New Jersey will become a leader that other states look to when addressing tobacco issues. Massachusetts recently passed legislation that restricts the sale of all flavors of all tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. New Jerseyans deserve the same protection from an industry that shamelessly preys on high-risk groups including communities of color; those who identify as LGBTQ; people with lower income and education levels; and those in the disability community.

“Increased investment into the state’s tobacco prevention and control programs is also essential to continuing to reduce incidence of smoking related deaths from cancer for all populations, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity or geographic location. Currently, New Jersey invests only 7% of what the CDC recommends into our Tobacco Control program. However, annual New Jersey healthcare costs directly caused by smoking have exceeded $4 billion. We must do better

“We also hope that the governor will keep funding level for programs like the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR) and New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED). These programs are crucial in the fight against cancer and the progress New Jersey has made. Programs like NJ CEED provide low-income uninsured New Jersey residents with potentially lifesaving cancer screenings including mammograms, pap tests, and colonoscopies. With over half a million uninsured New Jerseyans, state funding for cancer screenings is of increased importance.”

 

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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.

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