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Cancer-Fighting Advocates Mark Great American Smokeout by Calling for Action to Prevent Tobacco Addiction

Vermont Lawmakers Must Commit to Funding Lifesaving Tobacco Control Program

November 14, 2022

MONTPELIER – This Thursday, cancer patients and survivors are marking the American Cancer Society's 47th annual Great American Smokeout tomorrow by calling on elected officials to protect the health of all Vermont residents by implementing strong tobacco control legislation.

Advocates note that the need is particularly strong in Vermont, where both youth and adult smoking rates remain higher than the national average.

Tobacco use also causes economic loss and affects the nation’s ability to foster a competitive workforce. A new ACS study found that in 2019 nearly 123,000 cancer deaths were claimed by cigarette smoking, leading to $21 billion in lost earnings. Unsurprisingly, states with weaker tobacco control policies experienced significantly higher deaths.  In Vermont, nearly one third of cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking, and the state incurs an average of $404 million in health care costs directly caused by smoking every year.

"Nearly 70% of people who currently smoke cigarettes want to quit, and the Great American Smokeout is about helping people reach that important goal. We know increasing funding for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs by $1 million will help people quit and save lives," said Mike Rollo, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) government relations director in Vermont.

"A well-funded, fact-based tobacco control program is needed to counteract the $15.4 million per year that tobacco companies are spending to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco alone in Vermont, not including their other deadly and addictive products. As Big Tobacco has been working hard to addict future generations with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the need for tobacco prevention program funding has never been greater."

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S. and smoking is now linked to at least 12 types of cancers, including lung, liver and colorectal cancers. Due to Big Tobacco’s targeting of people with limited incomes, communities of color and LGBTQ+ communities, we see disproportionate tobacco use rates among these groups, which have led to health disparities.

“We urge Vermont lawmakers to mark the Great American Smokeout by increasing funding for the state tobacco control program by $1 million. In doing so, Vermont will take a decisive step towards reducing tobacco use and its devastating toll on our communities while also advancing our mission to end cancer as we know it, for everyone,” said Rollo.

Free resources on quitting smoking can be found through the American Cancer Society’s brand new cessation service, the Empowered to Quit program.

 

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About ACS CAN

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.

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