Minnesota Does Well on Tobacco Control, Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

August 1, 2019

Minnesota does well 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, Minnesota meets benchmarks in key 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. Minnesota met standards in the first two categories, but still falls short in the latter. This year, the Legislature improved upon tobacco cessation by securing a long-term funding solution for these programs.


"Minnesota has a lot to be proud of in this report, but there are still ways we can combat tobacco use," said Emily Myatt, Minnesota government relations director for ACS CAN. "In 2019, the legislature funded statewide cessation services and strengthened our clean indoor air law. Raising the tobacco sale age to 21 and investing in sustainable, long-term tobacco prevention programs are critical next steps to addressing nicotine addiction. As lawmakers across the state consider policies, we look forward to working together to pass evidence-based tobacco control laws that reduce tobacco's harm and prevent youth from ever starting to use tobacco.”


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 Minnesota Measures Up:


Increased Access to Medicaid                                                Green

Access to Palliative Care                                                        Green

Pain Policy                                                                             Yellow

Cigarette Tax Rates                                                                Green

Smoke-free Laws                                                                    Green

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding           Yellow                                   

Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services              Yellow

Indoor Tanning                                                                       Green


“This year, 30,560 Minnesotans will be diagnosed with cancer,” Myatt 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 Minnesota’s ratings, visit


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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