LANSING, Mich.– April 24, 2019 – Nearly 130 cancer patients, survivors and caregivers from across the state traveled to the Capitol in Lansing today to meet with Michigan’s lawmakers. They asked lawmakers to regulate e-cigarettes like other tobacco products, to increase the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 and to provide better access to care by passing the Oral Chemotherapy Fairness legislation.
This year, an estimated 58,360 people in Michigan will be diagnosed with cancer and nearly 21,150 in the state are expected to die from the devastating disease. Those gathered at the Capitol today are calling on Michigan 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) Day at the Capitol event.
“By making oral chemotherapy fairness and tobacco control a priority, we could ensure progress continues to reduce suffering and death from this disease,” said Heather Hall, ACS CAN volunteer and three-time cancer survivor from Sterling Heights. As a cancer survivor, I let my lawmakers know if we’re going to eliminate cancer as a major health problem in Michigan, this goal must be top of mind for our Legislature.”
Cancer advocates asked lawmakers to support:
- Giving chronically ill patients easier access to care - House Bill 4099 would equalize the out-of-pocket cost to the patient for oral chemotherapy and intravenous chemotherapy. Currently, the out-of-pocket costs for oral chemo medications versus intravenous (IV) medications provide a barrier for some Michiganders to use them.
- Protecting Michigan kids from e-cigarettes - Support efforts to regulate electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as tobacco products. The use of e-cigarettes has become an epidemic among our youth. Legislation has been offered to add e-cigarettes to the Youth Protection Act, but this does not go far enough to protect our youth.
- Increasing the age of sale for tobacco to 21 – Support raising the age of sale for tobacco in Michigan from 18 to 21. 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.
“We are meeting with our elected leaders today as representatives of each one of the who will hear ‘you have cancer’ this year in Michigan,” said Jennifer Belaire, ACS CAN volunteer from Ypsilanti. “Michigan’s Legislature must commit to supporting legislation that provides individuals with serious illnesses like cancer better access to care so we can work to eliminate cancer’s impact.”
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.