Missouri Falls Short on Tobacco Control, Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

August 1, 2019

Missouri continues to fall short 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, Missouri is one of the bottom states for tobacco prevention and cessation funding. 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. Missouri only met benchmarks in the last category, and it ranks 48th in the nation for tobacco control funding when including Guam and Washington, D.C.


“Missouri’s 20.8% smoking rate ranks high above the national average, and 2,600 kids newly begin a tobacco addiction every year,” said Emily Kalmer, Missouri government relations director for ACS CAN. “Our state currently funds tobacco prevention and cessation at less than 1% of the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended funding level, and we know that we could save lives by increasing that funding. But we’re still waiting for our lawmakers to make that a reality.”


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 Missouri Measures Up:


Increased Access to Medicaid                                                Red

Access to Palliative Care                                                        Green

Pain Policy                                                                             Red

Cigarette Tax Rates                                                                Red

Smoke-free Laws                                                                    Red

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding           Black                                      

Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services              Green

Indoor Tanning                                                                       Red


“This year, 35,480 Missourians will be diagnosed with cancer,” Kalmer 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 Missouri’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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