Nashville, TN – February 20, 2019 – Cancer survivors, caregivers and their families from across the state traveled to the Tennessee State Capitol today to call on the Legislature to prioritize the 37,350 Tennesseans who will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
The visit was part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) annual Cancer Awareness Day at the Capitol, which brought cancer advocates together to encourage lawmakers to restore funding to the state’s tobacco cessation and prevention programs, protect local smoke-free laws and to expand access to care.
“Cancer death rates continue to decrease nationwide, but Tennessee could do better. Lawmakers can be part of the solution by passing evidence-base polices that would help prevent Tennesseans from being diagnosed with cancer in the first place,” said Emily Ogden, government relations director ACS CAN. “Nearly 14,840 Tennesseans will still lose their lives to cancer in 2019 alone and more than 32 percent of those cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. We’re here today to ask lawmakers to commit to proven methods to stop tobacco addiction.”
Specifically, ACS CAN volunteers asked lawmakers to:
- Restore the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program funding. Tennessee would see a faster decline in smoking rates and lung cancer deaths with a commonsense investment in evidence-based tobacco control programs. Volunteers asked Gov. Lee to reinstate the $4 million annual funding for the Department of Health tobacco prevention and cessation program in his budget.
- Support policies that allow local authorities to pass smoke-free ordinances that will reduce incidence and mortality caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. Local communities should be able to determine and take action on evidence-based tobacco control policies that will protect the health of their residents and Tennessee lawmakers should not erect barriers for local government officials.
- Give chronically ill patients easier access to care. Volunteers asked lawmakers to increase access to health care for low-income Tennesseans to ensure that cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for cancer can enroll in comprehensive, quality health insurance coverage through the state’s TennCare program.
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.