JACKSON, MS – November 16, 2023 – For cancer patients and survivors caught in the coverage gap, we know access to health care means comprehensive coverage for cessation and other resources to help Mississippians with limited incomes successfully quit smoking, but it also means access to screening, medications, and life-saving treatment.
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. In Mississippi, 39.5% of Medicaid enrollees smoke – almost twice the rate of Mississippi’s general population. That is by design, as Big Tobacco has spent decades marketing its deadly and addictive products to people with limited incomes.
Elected officials across the state must do more to support Mississippians caught in the coverage gap who want to quit using tobacco products during the American Cancer Society’s 48th annual Great American Smokeout®. The Great American Smokeout is a day for people who use tobacco to create a plan to quit. That process can seem impossible for someone without access to comprehensive coverage to help successfully quit smoking.
“As many Mississippians try to quit during the Great American Smokeout, many will do so without access to the cessation medications and counseling support they need to be successful. Many will not have access to the cancer screenings they need, including lung cancer screening, which can catch cancer early when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. And many will not have access to the treatment they need. We must expand Medicaid.” said Kimberly Hughes, Mississippi government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Enough is enough. Our residents deserve better.”
Free resources on quitting tobacco can be found at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) 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 www.fightcancer.org.