New Jersey State Budget Produces Mixed Results in the Fight against Cancer

Statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network New Jersey Government Relations Director Jade Bechelli

June 30, 2023

TRENTON, NJ – JUNE 30, 2023 – This afternoon, the New Jersey Legislature passed the 2023-24 budget—the contents of which are a mixed bag in the fight against cancer. The budget now awaits Governor Murphy’s approval. While the state made sound investments in cancer screening and research, they missed an opportunity to provide tobacco prevention and cessation resources to New Jerseyans battling tobacco addiction and prevent another generation of youth from getting hooked on deadly tobacco products. To mark both the victories and missed opportunities, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) New Jersey Government Relations Director Jade Bechelli responded with the following statement:

“2023-24 held great potential for cancer prevention and early detection in New Jersey. With the state’s decision to fund critical cancer screening and research programs, the fight against cancer maintains its course. The state’s failure to increase funding for tobacco control, however, effectively gives permission to the tobacco industry to keep hooking New Jerseyans on tobacco products.

“As New Jersey continues to climb out of the pandemic-driven backlog in cancer screenings, the $5 million funding allocation for the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) Program will go a long way toward lowering cancer incidence and mortality rates, especially for under- and uninsured New Jerseyans. In the last year, NJCEED made it possible for 17,600 New Jersey residents to get screened for breast and cervical cancer and 2,981 for colorectal cancer. The $5 million allocation for NJCEED will make it so that fewer New Jerseyans will suffer and die from cancers that can be detected early or prevented through screening.

“Early detection and cancer screenings are critical tools in the effort to end all suffering and death from cancer, but equally important is our state’s tobacco prevention and cessation policies and programming. Smoking is responsible for 25.8% of cancer deaths in New Jersey with almost 12,000 people dying each year from smoking-related disease. If we do not act more urgently to provide resources that deter New Jerseyans from smoking and help them to quit, 143,000 kids under 18 who are alive today will ultimately die from smoking. We need to do better than $4.757 million toward tobacco control. As funding for New Jersey’s tobacco prevention and cessation program has decreased over the last several years, the program continues to do more with less. We are disheartened that New Jersey state leaders did not allocate adequate funding for such programming to help residents combat their addiction and prevent further tobacco use uptake.  

“Due to sharp increases in youth tobacco use in recent years, largely due to skyrocketing rates of e-cigarette use, the decades of progress that has been made in reducing tobacco use rates in youth is now in jeopardy.  A well-funded, fact-based tobacco control program is needed to counteract the $169.6 million per year that tobacco companies are spending to market their deadly and addictive products in New Jersey.  As Big Tobacco has been working hard to addict future generations with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the need for funding for tobacco prevention programs has never been greater.

“While state leaders missed an opportunity to bolster tobacco prevention and cessation programming, they did show up for cancer patients by maintaining funding for the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR) at $4 million. For more than 30 years, the NJCCR has promoted significant and original research into causes, prevention, treatment and palliation of cancer and serves as a resource to providers and consumers of cancer services. Patients across New Jersey thank lawmakers for protecting this invaluable statewide resource.

“ACS CAN will continue to advocate for an increase in tobacco control programming and sustained funding for programs like NJCEED and NJCCR. We remain committed to reducing the impact of tobacco on New Jerseyans and ending all suffering and death from cancer and look forward to working with state and local leaders to secure these policies moving forward.”




The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone.  As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels. By engaging advocates across the country to make their voices heard, ACS CAN influences legislative and regulatory solutions that will end cancer as we know it.

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