New Report: Utah Falls Short on Public Policies to Fight Cancer

State-by-State Report Shows Utah Must Do More to Protect Young People from Indoor Tanning Devices Linked to Cancer 

August 1, 2019

Salt Lake City – Utah falls short when it comes to implementing policies and passing legislation to fight cancer, according to a new report released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, Utah measured up to policy recommendations in just one of the eight evaluated issue areas.

“Utah has a lot of work to do in order to prevent cancer, and this report provides lawmakers a legislative path forward to improve cancer prevention efforts, curb tobacco use, prioritize the quality of life for patients and their families, and increase access to critical health coverage,” said Brook Carlisle, government relations director for ACS CAN in Utah. "I’m particularly concerned about Utah’s red, or failing grade, for our lack of tanning restrictions for young people. We know that using indoor tanning devices before age 35 increases a person’s risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59%."

This year, roughly 1,160 Utahns will be diagnosed with melanoma. To help reduce the incidence and mortality from skin cancer, Utah must pass legislation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices by those under the age of 18. The World Health Organization categories tanning devices as “carcinogenic to humans”—its highest cancer risk category and the same category as cigarettes. The most recent data indicates that one in 13 high school girls have used a tanning device and the numbers increase to one in eight by their senior year.

"Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the country and we know that the greatest avoidable risk factor for skin cancer is the use of indoor tanning devices," Carlisle added. "That’s why ACS CAN will be working with our lawmakers to pass tanning legislation in 2020 to guarantee that Utah’s young people are not gaining access to these harmful devices."

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.

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 Utah Measures Up:

Increased Access to Medicaid                                                   Red

Access to Palliative Care                                                            Red

Pain Policy                                                                                   Yellow

Cigarette Tax Rates                                                                     Yellow

Smoke-free Laws                                                                         Green

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding             Yellow                        

Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services                 Yellow

Indoor Tanning                                                                              Red

To view the complete report and details on Utah’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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