New Report: Arizona Has Room to Improve Its Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

August 1, 2019

PHOENIX – Arizona has work to do when it comes to implementing policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce 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,” Arizona measured up to policy recommendations in just three of the eight evaluated issue areas. The report was released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

The 17th edition of the report highlights what action Arizona’s lawmakers must take when it comes to tobacco control and reduce suffering and death from cancer. 

“This year alone in Arizona, more than 37,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer, with lung cancer being the deadliest type for Arizonans,” said ACS CAN Arizona Grassroots Manager Alyss Patel. “This report provides lawmakers a legislative path forward to improve cancer prevention efforts and curb tobacco use.”

How Do You Measure Up? rates states in eight specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer: increased access to care through Medicaid, access to palliative care, balanced pain control policies, cigarette tax levels, smoke-free laws, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, cessation coverage under Medicaid and restricting indoor tanning devices for people under 18. 

Arizona’s lawmakers must continue to reject any attempts to weaken or undermine effective tobacco control legislation and implement comprehensive policies that will prevent our kids from developing a lifelong addiction to tobacco. This year, ACS CAN advocates helped defeat Senate Bill 1147, which would have raised the legal age of sale for tobacco to 21 but done little to sincerely protect public health. It did not define electronic cigarettes as a product of Big Tobacco, and the bill explicitly prohibited municipalities from establishing any additional tobacco prevention ordinances regarding tobacco sale, marketing or use.  

This year’s report includes a special section examining Tobacco 21. E-cigarettes have driven a dramatic 36% rise in youth tobacco product use over the last year — and in statehouses across the country, policymakers prioritized efforts to keep tobacco products out of the hands of our kids, introducing 88 bills that raised the age of sale. But as we saw in Arizona, lawmakers’ good-faith efforts were co-opted by the tobacco industry. In fact, 51 out of the 88 age of sale bills introduced in 2019 included provisions that advance tobacco industry interests. 

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 fall short.

How Arizona Measures Up:
Increased Access to Medicaid                    Green
Access to Palliative Care                        Red
Pain Policy                            Yellow
Cigarette Tax Rates                        Green
Smoke-free Laws                                                     Green
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding        Yellow            
Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services            Yellow        
Indoor Tanning                            Red



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Media Contacts

Adrienne M. Lynch
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager