Michigan Must Stand Up to Big Tobacco

During American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout®, Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Pass Tobacco Control Measures to Protect Public Health

November 14, 2023

LANSING, MICH. – Elected officials must do more to support the residents of Michigan who want to quit using tobacco products, say cancer patients, survivors, and advocates who are marking the American Cancer Society’s 48th annual Great American Smokeout® this Thursday. The Great American Smokeout is a day for people who use tobacco to create a plan to quit.

Not only does the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) want to help people quit, but it also wants to help Michigan's youth never start. We know that a well-funded tobacco cessation and prevention program is essential to provide the support needed to help people quit and to prevent kids and young adults from starting to use tobacco.

“On this Great American Smokeout, ACS CAN urges Gov. Whitmer and lawmakers to protect our youth and support people who want to quit using tobacco by moving quickly to increase tobacco prevention and cessation funding by $5 million annually,” said Molly Medenblik, government relations director, ACS CAN. “Increasing Michigan’s investment in programs to keep kids from starting to use tobacco and help adults quit will help every resident of our state by reducing tobacco use and addiction, leading to fewer deaths and suffering from tobacco-related diseases including cancer.”

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death, and smoking is linked to at least 12 types of cancers, including lung, liver and colorectal cancers. Each year, more than 16,000 Michiganders die from a smoking-related disease and over 15,000 kids try cigarettes for the first time.

Furthermore, tobacco use is one of the primary drivers of cancer-related health disparities. Tobacco companies have specifically targeted communities of color, limited income communities, veterans, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people and youth, which has caused disproportionate tobacco use among these populations. Achieving health equity relies heavily on eliminating tobacco use. 

“The Great American Smokeout is not just an opportunity for people who use tobacco to set a plan to quit. It’s also a clear wake-up call for lawmakers to say it’s time for Michigan to stand up to Big Tobacco,” said Medenblik. “For too long, Michigan has allowed the tobacco industry to addict people to deadly, cancer-causing products. It’s time to say, ‘enough is enough.’ Our residents deserve better.”  

Free resources on quitting tobacco can be found at MI Tobacco Quitlink or through the American Cancer Society’s cessation program, Empowered to Quit. 


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 

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Michelle Zimmerman
Associate Director, Regional Media Advocacy