Cancer Advocates Urge Legislature to Make Cancer Top Priority

Cancer Advocates Urge Legislature to Regulate all Tobacco Products, Including E-cigarettes and Improve Access to Cancer Treatments

January 27, 2020

Boise, Idaho—January 27, 2020— Idaho cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones filled the Idaho Capitol building today to ask lawmakers to prioritize legislation to fight cancer during the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Cancer Action Day.

Specifically, the group pushed to regulate e-cigarettes and improve access to oral chemotherapy medications. 

Volunteers urged their legislators to support a bill to classify e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.  Tobacco retailers are trained on compliance with age verification to prevent youth access, but e-cigarette retailers are not. This bill would require e-cigarette retailers to be licensed and follow the same training and licensing requirements of other tobacco retailers. Classifying e-cigarettes as a tobacco product is an important step in getting a handle on the youth tobacco epidemic.

Advocates also asked legislators to consider legislation that would help equalize out-of-pocket costs for oral chemotherapy medicine and traditional intravenous (IV) chemotherapy medications.

“Unfortunately, Idaho is one of few states in the nation that does not allow for oral chemotherapy fairness parity for cancer patients. As a rural state, Idahoans often travel several hours for cancer treatment or pay more out of pocket for the oral chemotherapy medications prescribed by their doctor,” said ACS CAN Idaho Government Relations Director Theresa Vawter. “We want legislation that would make oral chemotherapy cancer drugs more accessible for patients to take in the comfort of their own homes and cost the same as traditional chemotherapy.”

“In our state there will be an estimated 8,500 new cancer cases this year, and many cancers can be prevented by eliminating tobacco use,” Vawter continued. “That’s why our advocates share their personal stories with lawmakers and talk about what our elected officials can do to help us fight cancer.”

Cancer advocates were pleased to speak with their elected officials and look forward to continuing their conversations throughout the legislative session.