The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) held the Tobacco Advocacy Panel: A Call for Action today at the RSA Plaza Terrance to discuss the recent spike in tobacco use driven largely by the increased use of e-cigarettes among Alabama’s youth and evidenced-based policies including tobacco tax increases, smoke-free laws, and funding for smoking prevention cessation to reverse this trend. This panel was part of the ACS CAN’s annual Day at the Capitol where patients, survivors, and their families and caregivers from across Alabama met with their legislators and asked them to support measures to reduce cancer in the state.
“Today’s panel was an opportunity to discuss possible solutions to create a healthier Alabama by enacting strong, statewide policies to reduce tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, said Ginny Campbell, Alabama government relations director, ACS CAN. “We want to see the state legislature raise our state’s tobacco tax and prevent exposure to secondhand smoke for workers by establishing a strong, smoke-free law to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.”
Speakers included Jennifer McNeel, director Alabama Department of Public Health, Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, and Kim Cochran, Public Strategies, LLC and board member, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Alabama.
This year, 28,950 people will be diagnosed with cancer in Alabama, and an estimated 10,630 will die from the disease. But those who traveled to Montgomery on Tuesday are working with legislators to change that by asking them to support strong tobacco control and prevention policies, increase state funding for colorectal cancer screening by $200,000, broaden access to health coverage for hard-working, low-income Alabama families, and increase state funding for breast cancer screening so more women can be screened, more cancers can be found, and more lives can be saved.
While in Montgomery, more than 60 cancer advocates also recognized Rep. Steve Clouse for his years of commitment to funding cancer screenings, heard from an Alabama colorectal cancer survivor, and learned more about the value of telling their own personal cancer stories.
“Tobacco kills, and e-cigarette use among youth is now an epidemic, according to the Surgeon General,” said Campbell. “It’s time our state legislators stepped up and passed measures to protect Alabama citizens from the dangers of all tobacco use.”
About the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
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.acscan.org.