Arizona Advocates Rally in Support of Cancer Prevention Initiatives
More than 200 attend ACS CAN Day at the Capitol
PHOENIX – Feb. 6, 2019 – Cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, students and advocates from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) rallied at the Capitol today in support of a package of tobacco control bills designed to reduce the toll of tobacco on the state as well as an effort to prohibit minors under the age of 18 from using tanning devices.
“When you consider the toll that cancer takes each year in Arizona, we must ensure policies are in place that will begin to minimize the impact of this disease,” said Brian Hummel, government relations director for ACS CAN in Arizona. “Tobacco is the cause of nearly 29 percent of cancer deaths in our state and the World Health Organization classifies indoor tanning beds in the same category as tobacco and asbestos.”
The tobacco control package of bills would increase the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, raise the sales age on tobacco products to 21 and ensure e-cigarettes are recognized and regulated as a tobacco product. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the state, claiming the lives of more than 8,300 adults annually. Additionally, about 2,400 Arizona youths become new daily smokers each year and e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels among the country’s youth, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Currently, more than 16 percent of high schoolers in Arizona use e-cigarettes.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and exposure to ultraviolet radiation using indoor tanning devices is a risk factor. In 2019, the American Cancer Society projects that 2,340 Arizonians will be diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and 190 are projected to die from the disease. Using an indoor tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent.
ACS CAN advocates also talked with legislators about protecting funding for the Well Woman HealthCheck program, which provides breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment for uninsured and underinsured. Cuts to this program would stop lifesaving treatment to women with no other means to get help.
Arizona is projected to have 37,490 new cancer cases diagnosed during 2019 and 12,470 are projected to die from the disease. Additionally, there are more than 354,000 Arizonians alive today who have survived a cancer diagnosis.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 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.