Cancer Patients and Public Health Advocates from Around New Mexico Rally Legislature with Virtual Tobacco Action Day
Lawmakers have opportunity to combat public health impact of COVID-19 by enacting policies proven to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including tobacco tax increase
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, state legislators heard from cancer patients, survivors, and public health advocates during New Mexico’s virtual Tobacco Action Day. Even though the advocates could not travel to the capitol this year, they made their voices heard through virtual meetings, phone calls and social media.
The event, organized by New Mexico Allied Council on Tobacco (NM ACT) and leading public health groups, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), drew public health advocates from around the state to urge lawmakers to support lifesaving public health legislation. This year volunteers urged lawmakers to enact policies that will impact Big Tobacco’s deadly influence in the state.
With smoking contributing to over a quarter of cancers deaths in New Mexico, the deadly results of the tobacco industry’s targeting of youth and marginalized communities cannot be ignored, especially now: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has named smoking a risk factor for developing severe illness from COVID-19.
Specifically, volunteers asked lawmakers to support a $2 increase in New Mexico’s tobacco tax and asked the Legislature to allow local jurisdictions to regulate tobacco products. Advocates noted that a $2 increase in the states tobacco is projected to results in $28.63 million in new annual revenue and it would also reduce youth (under 18) smoking by over 19%.
“We owe it to our ourselves to tackle tobacco use in New Mexico and kick Big Tobacco to the curb in all our communities,” said Brian Hummell, Government Relations Director for ACS CAN in New Mexico. “We can do this through proven evidence-based public policies that help people quit or never use this deadly product in the first place, including significantly increasing tobacco taxes and strengthening local control of tobacco sales.”
“Annual health care expenditures in New Mexico directly caused by tobacco use are $844 million. Enacting strong tobacco control policies will not only help save lives but will also save millions in taxpayer dollars. It’s a win-win,” continued Hummell.
To learn more about how ACS CAN is advocating for cancer patients and survivors through this unique time on the state and federal level, or to learn more about how you can support efforts like this, please visit: fightcancer.org.
About ACS CAN
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.