SANTA FE, NM– Cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, students and advocates from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) rallied at the Roundhouse today in support of increasing the state’s tobacco tax by $1.50 per pack and prohibiting minors under the age of 18 from using tanning devices.
“When you consider the toll that cancer takes each year in New Mexico, we must ensure policies are in place that will begin to minimize the impact of this disease,” said Sandra Adondakis, government relations director for ACS CAN in New Mexico. “Significant increases in the price of tobacco have proven to be one of the most effective ways to address the dangers of tobacco products. And, limiting children’s access to indoor tanning devices will ensure a future with fewer people being diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer.”
A $1.50 per pack increase in the New Mexico cigarette tax would result in a 16.4 percent decrease in youth smoking in New Mexico and an estimated 13,200 current adult smokers quitting. It also would generate approximately $30.74 million in new revenue for the state while saving New Mexico $461.51 million in long-term health care cost savings from smoking declines.
The World Health Organization classifies indoor tanning devices as “carcinogenic to humans,” the same category as tobacco and asbestos. Using an indoor tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent.
Additional issues that ACS CAN volunteers met with their elected officials about include: increasing access, awareness and utilization of palliative care in the state; increasing state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation by $1 million; and, ensuring tobacco cessation treatments and medications are covered under New Mexico’s Medicaid program.
New Mexico is projected to have 9,560 new cancer cases diagnosed during 2019 and 3,720 are projected to die from the disease. Additionally, there are 102,100 New Mexicans alive today who have survived a cancer diagnosis.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 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 www.fightcancer.org.