Cancer Advocates Held Cancer Action Day at Capitol Today, Urging Lawmakers to Protect Kids from Tobacco and Preserve Access to Health Care through Medicaid

ACS CAN 2020 Cancer Action Day Brings Voices of Cancer Patients to Capitol

February 18, 2020

JUNEAU, Alaska – Cancer patients, their families and other volunteers from around the state who have been touched by cancer united at the State Capitol in Juneau today to share their personal stories and push for policy change to fight cancer. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) gives people impacted by cancer a powerful voice with lawmakers by holding an annual Cancer Action Day.

A top priority for the group this year is addressing tobacco use and protecting young people from all tobacco products including e-cigarettes. Advocates met with legislators about the need to tax electronic cigarettes the same way as other tobacco products and increase the age of sale for all tobacco products including
e-cigarettes to 21, while implementing active enforcement for retailers including penalties such as suspending or revoking the license for non-compliant retailers. 

"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and smoking is responsible for more than 31% of all cancer deaths in the state," said Emily Nenon, Alaska government relations director for ACS CAN. "Curbing tobacco use will save lives and reduce cancer rates and death in the state."

The volunteers also spent the day highlighting the importance of access to health care with a strong Medicaid program. Having access to quality and affordable health care coverage is a key factor in early detection and survival from cancer, which is why they urged lawmakers to preserve access, eligibility and funding for Alaska’s Medicaid program.

This year roughly 3,000 Alaskans will be diagnosed with cancer and 1,090 people will die from the disease.



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


Media Contacts

Noe Streetman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager
Emily Nenon
Alaska Government Relations Director