JUNEAU, Alaska—Cancer advocates across Alaska convene at the Capitol on February 20 for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) annual Cancer Action Day at the Capitol to highlight the importance of smoke-free workplaces and other public health policies to save lives from cancer.
The group urges lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), to protect Alaskans working indoors from secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol. The bill asks those who smoke to take it outside. SB 63 passed the Alaska Senate last year 15-5 and has half the House signed on as co-sponsors. The bill is currently waiting to be scheduled for a House floor vote.
Cancer is the no. 1 killer in Alaska, and this year, 1,120 Alaskans will die from the devastating disease. Roughly 31 percent of Alaska's cancer deaths are caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, which causes many of the same health risks as actual smoking. The U.S. Surgeon General reports no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, which contains roughly 70 cancer-causing chemicals.
Alaska is one of 25 states without a 100-percent smoke-free workplace law that includes restaurants and bars. In a statewide ACS CAN poll, 69 percent of Alaska voters favor a law that prohibits smoking in public buildings, restaurants, offices and bars. More than half of Alaska’s smokers support a statewide smoke-free law.
The group also wants to keep businesses from selling electronic cigarettes to kids. Senate Bill 15, sponsored by Sen. Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak), closes a loophole in current state law so that e-cigarette retailers who sell to minors face the same penalties as under-age tobacco sales. A recent compliance survey found 35 percent of Alaska e-cigarette retailers sold to under-age youth compared to 5 percent of tobacco retailers. Tobacco retailers are penalized for under-age sales. SB 15 is being considered by Senate Finance.
What: Cancer Action Day at the Capitol
Who: Cancer patients, survivors and students meeting with state lawmakers
When: February 20, 2018 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Alaska State Capitol
Interviews: Call Noe Baker at 503-729-2919 to reach cancer survivors, advocates and policy experts
Photos and video: www.facebook.com/ACSCANAlaska or #CancerActionDay
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.