Cancer Advocates Held Day of Action at Capitol on Friday, Urging Lawmakers to Raise Tobacco Sales Age to 21
ACS CAN 2019 Cancer Action Day Brings Voices of Cancer Patients to Capitol
Carson City, Nevada – March 8, 2019 – Cancer patients, their families and other volunteers from around the state came together at the State Capitol in Carson City to advocate for cancer-fighting bills today, Friday March 8, 2019. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) gives people impacted by cancer a powerful voice by holding a Cancer Action Day.
Topping the list of priorities this year was addressing what the U.S. Surgeon General calls an epidemic—
e-cigarette use, which is rising at an alarming rate. To combat what could trigger a lifetime addiction to tobacco, ACS CAN volunteer advocates met with lawmakers to urge them to raise the tobacco sales age to 21 in Nevada as well as tax e-cigarettes like other tobacco products in Nevada. Currently, e-cigarettes are the only tobacco product that does not have an excise tax. Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in Nevada and is behind an estimated one-third of all cancer-related deaths.
Progress to keep kids off tobacco is slipping at a frightening pace, causing parents, school officials and public health leaders to become concerned. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new data confirming our worst fears. Overall tobacco use among middle and high school students is on the rise, driven largely by the skyrocketing increase in e-cigarette use. The new CDC study shows e-cigarette use among high school students jumped a whopping 78 percent between 2017 and 2018.
“We know 95 percent of all adult smokers started before the age of 21 and most of them started with a flavored tobacco product,” said lead ACS CAN volunteer for the state of Nevada and educator Sherry Jasperson. “Many teens rely on their 18-year-old friends, often those still in high school, to buy them tobacco products. Raising the price of tobacco through significant tax increases is a proven way to reduce tobacco use and raising the sales age to 21 will help keep all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, out of the hands of youth.”
Candy and fruit flavored e-cigarettes are luring kids into using e-cigarettes, with studies showing they may go on to smoke cigarettes. More than 80 percent of smokers admit they started with a flavored tobacco product. To break the cycle, raising the tobacco sale age to 21 and increasing the price of e-cigarettes will help reduce use.
“We all pay the price for tobacco’s toll on public health. In fact, tobacco use costs Nevada taxpayers more than $1 billion in health care costs every year. Raising the legal sales age will save money and lives,” said ACS CAN Nevada Government Relations Director Tom McCoy.
Nevada raised the excise tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack in 2015 but did not increase the tax on other tobacco products nor levy a tax on e-cigarettes, which have since skyrocketed in popularity among youth. Studies have shown that for every 10 percent increase in cigarette taxes, teen smoking drops by 7 percent. Now is the time to apply that same strategy to e-cigarettes to prevent the next generation from tobacco addiction.
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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