Minnesota Gets Mixed Reviews on Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

ACS CAN concerned about tobacco control program rating

August 9, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Aug. 9, 2018 – Minnesota gets mixed reviews when it comes to implementing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer according to the latest edition of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, released today.  


“Minnesota has done okay in this report historically, but I am worried about our future,” said Ellie Beaver, Minnesota government relations director at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “In particular, our rating for state funding for tobacco control programs is in jeopardy if we do not find a way to replace the services ClearWay provides now, before it sunsets in 2022.”


How Do You Measure Up? rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer, including increase access to care through Medicaid, funding for screening programs, smoke-free laws, cigarette tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and cessation coverage under Medicaid. The report also looks at whether a state provides a balances approach to pain medication and if it has passed policies proven to increase patient quality of life.

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. 

“ACS CAN will be working with Minnesota lawmakers in the 2019 session to reduce the impact of tobacco use on the health of our state,” said Beaver. “Quitting tobacco can be lifesaving, money-saving and misery-saving. But, quitting is hard and it can take people who use tobacco many attempts before they are successful. We have to provide better support than just wishing people well. What’s more, funding tobacco prevention program means kids won’t be in the position to need to quit as adults. Our work this session will determine how we look in this report next year.”


ClearWay Minnesota is an organization created as part of the tobacco settlement to reduce tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke in Minnesota. It was established as a life-limited organization and will end by 2022. It includes QUITPLAN Services, which are programs that give Minnesota tobacco users free tools to quit.


To view the complete report and details on Minnesota grades, visit


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


# # #

Media Contacts

Jennifer Amundson
Associate director, media advocacy
Eagan, Minn.