WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, a bipartisan, bicameral group of congressional lawmakers introduced legislation which would prohibit the use of all combustible tobacco products and the use of e-cigarettes at healthcare facilities managed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In response Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, CEO of American Cancer Society (ACS) and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), released the following statement:
“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network commends Representatives Wenstrup and Underwood and Senators Durbin and Collins for introducing legislation that would protect the ability of our nation’s veterans to breathe smoke-free air at health facilities managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“If enacted, this law would help protect thousands of veterans, including those who are sick or disabled, from the dangers of secondhand smoke while receiving the medical care they need. It would also help ensure a supportive environment for veterans who are trying to quit using tobacco, and would guarantee physicians, nurses, volunteers and visitors can continue working in and visiting a smoke-free environment.
“While the VA voluntarily instituted smoke-free policies at its facilities in 2019, a legislative solution is necessary to ensure that these facilities remain smoke-free.
“Research shows that there are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, including about 70 that cause cancer. As the daughter of a veteran, I am proud to support this population, and all populations, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.
“Of course, it’s not only about cancer. Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, and the U.S. Surgeon General has determined there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this legislation and keep VA facilities smoke-free.”
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.