Cancer Patients and Survivors Travel to Columbus to Rally Legislators to Make Cancer a Priority

Volunteers Meeting with Ohio Lawmakers to Ask for Support for Reducing the Toll of Tobacco on Ohio Kids and Maintaining Access to Care

April 10, 2019

Columbus, OH– April 10, 2019 – Nearly 100 cancer patients, survivors and caregivers from across the state traveled to the state capitol in Columbus today to meet with Ohio’s lawmakers about the need to properly fund the state’s Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program, raising the age of sale for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 and providing access to care through the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project.

This year, an estimated 67,150 people in Ohio will be diagnosed with cancer and nearly 25,440 in the state are expected to die from the devastating disease. Those gathered at the Capitol today are calling on Ohio lawmakers to change this by taking steps to make the fight against cancer a priority. The visit is part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Cancer Action Day event. 

“As a cancer survivor, I let my lawmakers know if we’re going to eliminate cancer as a major health problem in Ohio, this goal must be top of mind for our legislature,” said Julie Turner, ACS CAN Ohio state lead ambassador. “By reducing tobacco’s toll and making access to care a priority, we can reduce suffering and death from this disease.”

Specifically, the Ohio volunteers are asking the legislature to:

Properly Fund the State’s Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program 
Invest $35 million in Ohio’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program; restoring funding levels to mid-2000s investment levels at a minimum of $35 million per year would allow the state to revive its once successful and impactful comprehensive program. This investment will allow the state to help prevent kids from starting to use tobacco products and to help people quit, while delivering health and cost-saving benefits to Ohio.

Amend Proposal to Increase the Age of Sale for Tobacco to 21 to Protect Youth from Tobacco
Discuss amendments to Gov. DeWine’s proposal to raise the age of sale for tobacco in Ohio from 18 to 21 that are needed in order for ACS CAN to support the initiative. Necessary changes include measures for strong enforcement and that won’t penalize youth, which must be made for the policy to have a true health impact. Nationally, 95%  of adults who smoke start before they turn 21. Restricting youth and young adult access to tobacco products promises to be a critical component to reducing initiation and a lifelong addiction.  ACS CAN supports legislation that will best protect youth when raising the minimum age of sale to 21 and calls on the legislature to amend the proposal to effectively accomplish this critical goal

Properly Fund Ohio’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project
Support Gov. DeWine’s proposed increase in funding for Ohio’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project. This program provides vital cancer screenings, such as mammograms, to low-income, uninsured women in our state.

“We are meeting with our elected leaders today as representatives of each one of the Ohioans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year,” said Pam Manges, ACS CAN Ohio vice state lead ambassador. “When it comes to reducing tobacco’s impact on our state, politicians need to put politics aside and reach across the aisle.”

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


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Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager