Florida Legislature Failing to Enact Proven Cancer-Fighting Policies

Inaction may lead to greater cancer burden in state

August 9, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  The Florida state legislature is failing to implement evidence-based policies designed to fight cancer, according to a report released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). Florida earned a “green” rating in only one of nine categories examined in the annual How Do You Measure Up? report. Only two states achieved fewer positive ratings.

Recognizing that 135,170 Floridians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year and 45,030 are projected to die from the disease, implementing the nine evidenced-based public health policies detailed in the report would curb the human and financial toll of cancer in the state. These policies are designed to tackle tobacco use, encourage healthy behaviors and improve access to health screenings and treatment.

“Florida must do better at enacting effective policies to prevent, detect and treat cancer,” said Matt Jordan, government relations director for ACS CAN in Florida. "We have ample evidence to prove these policies work so it is essential for our elected officials to set aside partisan differences and put the health of Floridians at the forefront.”

Florida’s biggest opportunity to save lives and reduce health care costs would be increasing the price of cigarettes by at least $1 per pack.  Florida’s current excise tax of $1.34 has not been increased in nearly a decade and ranks 30th in the country. The national average as of July 1, 2018 is $1.75 per pack.

Research has proven there are two other priority, evidenced-based policy solutions that can reduce the use of tobacco products. These include implementing a statewide comprehensive smoke-free law and fully funding and implementing statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs in accordance with best practice recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unfortunately, Florida failed to achieve a “green” rating in either category. 

Florida’s lone “green” rating was earned for funding the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program at $2.3 million for FY2018. 

This year’s report also highlights a significant trend: in 2015, there were fewer than 80 state legislative proposals introduced related to pain management and opioid issues nationwide; in 2018, there have been more than 470 state legislative proposals introduced across the country regarding these same issues. Hanging in the Balance: A Special Section on the Impact of Pain Policy evaluates whether states are implementing balanced pain policies and takes a deeper dive into how states can reduce opioid abuse while ensuring patients who legitimately need these drugs maintain access to them.

A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short. On categories relating to funding, a black designation is assigned to states that provide no funding.   

How Florida Measures Up:

Cigarette Tax Rates                                                                      Yellow

Smoke-free Laws                                                                          Yellow

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding                 Yellow

Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services                     Red

Indoor Tanning Device Use Restrictions                                      Red

Increased Access to Medicaid                                                      Red

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Funding                 Green

Access to Palliative Care                                                              Yellow

Pain Policy                                                                                    Yellow


To view the complete report and details on each state’s grades, visit


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


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