The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation released the following statement after the Legislature voted Friday to put sweeping changes to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust on the November ballot.
Maryland Joins Ranks of States Protecting Youth from Tobacco; Indoor Tanning Devices
State Sees Huge Wins for Preventing Cancer in Future Generations
ANNAPOLIS - Today, Gov. Larry Hogan will enact two measures that will protect Maryland’s youth from increased risk of cancer. He will sign both legislation which will increase the statewide age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21, as well as legislation which will prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices by youth under the age of 18. Both measures will take effect on October 1, 2019.
Jocelyn Collins, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Maryland, released the following statement in response:
“Thanks to our lawmakers’ hard work and our advocates’ persistence, Maryland will now become the 13th state in the country to limit sales of tobacco products to those who are 21 and over. We will also join 17 states and Washington D.C. in prohibiting the use of indoor tanning devices by everyone under 18. These are huge wins when it comes to preventing cancer in future generations.
“ACS CAN is thrilled that our state’s youth will now have less of a chance to fall victim to Big Tobacco. However, we are disappointed this protection was not extended to members of our military, who are exempted from final legislation.
“We know the tobacco industry uniquely targets young people to replace consumers dying from their products, and too many of our children are becoming addicted before they even have a chance to grow up. But if kids don’t pick up a tobacco addiction during their vulnerable adolescent and teenage years, they’ll be less likely to do it when they’re 21. This legislation has the potential to reduce smoking rates in our state and ensure our kids live longer, healthier lives.
“We also know that kids and tanning devices don’t mix. One of the most avoidable risk factors for skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet radiation through the use of indoor tanning devices, and this bill brings Maryland one step closer to reducing suffering and death from skin cancer by limiting young people’s access to these devices.”
“We would like to thank Del. Dereck Davis (D-25) and Sen. Delores Kelley (D-10), as well as the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and the Maryland Democratic Caucus, for their tenacity and dedication to increasing the age of sale of tobacco to 21.
“We also thank Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-3A) and Sen. Joanne Benson (D-24) and legislative leadership for ensuring kids under 18 will be protected from the dangers of indoor tanning devices. On behalf of all cancer patients, survivors and their families, we thank Gov. Hogan for signing both of these lifesaving bills into law.”
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.