SALEM, Ore.—Cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones convened at the State Capitol today, February 27, for the annual Cancer Action Day at the Capitol, hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). February is National Cancer Prevention Month and the group spent the day-long event calling on their lawmakers to make the fight against cancer a top priority. Roughly 23,300 Oregonians will be diagnosed with cancer this year and nearly 8,300 will die from the disease.
"Cancer Action Day gives people touched by cancer a powerful voice with their lawmakers and a real opportunity to push for policy changes to reduce cancer and save lives," said Christopher Friend, ACS CAN Oregon government relations director. "Our elected officials play a critical role in our ability to fight cancer, and our advocates come from all over the state to share their personal stories and put a real face to our issues."
To kick off the day-long event, the advocates presented Gov. Kate Brown with their Distinguished Advocacy Award to honor her commitment to fighting cancer in the state and her tireless work to support tobacco control efforts.
Addressing tobacco use including the e-cigarette epidemic among Oregon kids was a top priority, given that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed nearly 80% in Oregon in the past two years. To help curb this crisis, the volunteers urged lawmakers to pass legislation to prohibit the online sales of e-cigarettes. Recent data reveals that 10% of Oregon’s 11th graders have purchased an e-cigarette on the internet.
Additionally, the group spoke with lawmakers about legislation to establish a statewide licensing program for tobacco retailers to help prevent underage sales to youth. ACS CAN supports tobacco retail licensing programs that include strong retailer enforcement and penalties, including revoking and suspending licenses for noncompliant retailers. To effectively curb sales of tobacco products including e-cigarettes to youth, the policy must not penalize youth or preempt, or block, local communities from passing their own stronger tobacco control laws.
The group also discussed the critical importance of ensuring adequate funding for the state’s ScreenWise program, which provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women in Oregon.
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.