Illinois Senate President John Cullerton Receives National Distinguished Advocacy Award for Championing Lifesaving Cancer Public Policy

Award is Highest Honor Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

September 12, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award this week, the most prestigious award presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of his dedication to advancing strong tobacco control legislation aimed at reducing the burden of cancer in his community.

ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy.

“Senate President Cullerton has proven himself an unwavering ally in the fight against cancer,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “Thanks to his leadership, thousands of Illinoisans have been protected from a lifetime of tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke exposure, and we are grateful to have him by our side in the fight against cancer.”

Most recently, the senate president led the charge to increase Illinois’ cigarette tax rate by $1.00 per pack and establish a new 15 percent wholesale tax on e-cigarettes, garnering bipartisan support for the final 2019 budget proposal and securing an additional $1 million in funding for the Illinois Tobacco Quitline. He was also a key supporter of raising the legal age of sale of tobacco products to 21 this year, making Illinois the first and only Midwestern state to do so.

“Senate President Cullerton continues to leverage his leadership role to protect Illinois residents from the deadly scourge of tobacco,” said Emily Hall, ACS CAN Illinois Grassroots Manager.  “His dedication has helped Illinois make significant strides in implementing tobacco prevention and control policies and thus reducing the cancer burden across the state.”

The award was announced on Sept. 11 at ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., as nearly 700 volunteers and staff from across the country convened to ask Congress to support policies that increase cancer research funding, improve patient quality of life, make colorectal cancer screenings more affordable for seniors and restrict flavors in tobacco products to protect kids.



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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Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager