Indiana continues to fall short when it comes to passing legislation that prevents and reduces suffering and death from cancer. According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, Indiana failed to measure up to policy recommendations in nearly all areas of tobacco control. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released the report today.
The 17th edition of the report assesses tobacco control within four issue areas: cigarette tax rates, smoke-free air laws, tobacco prevention and cessation funding, and Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation services. Indiana only met benchmarks in the last category. This legislative session, tobacco control advocates offered a bill to increase the state’s cigarette tax rate, but it did not become law.
“Indiana’s 21.8% smoking rate ranks high above the national average, and more than 3,000 kids newly begin a tobacco addiction every year,” said Bryan Hannon, Indiana government relations director for ACS CAN. “We know that we can save lives by raising the state’s cigarette tax rate, expanding smoke-free laws and increasing funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. But we’re still waiting for our lawmakers to make these ideas a reality.”
How Do You Measure Up? rates states in eight specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer. 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.
How Indiana Measures Up:
Increased Access to Medicaid Green
Access to Palliative Care Green
Pain Policy Red
Cigarette Tax Rates Yellow
Smoke-free Laws Yellow
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding Red
Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services Green
Indoor Tanning Red
“This year, more than 35,000 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with cancer,” Hannon said. “We owe it to them – and to everyone at risk of developing this disease – to do everything in our power to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment. This report provides lawmakers a legislative path forward.”
To view the complete report and details on Indiana’s ratings, visit www.fightcancer.org/measure.
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.