Ohio Lawmakers Falling Short on Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

ACS CAN Looks Forward to Working with Lawmakers to Reduce the Toll of Tobacco on Ohio

August 1, 2019

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio is falling short 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.

“This report shows that we must do more to reduce suffering and death from cancer. But we have the power to make a difference for Ohioans immediately by implementing proven cancer-fighting policies,” said Julie Turner, cancer survivor and Ohio state lead ambassador, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “This year alone in Ohio, 67,150 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 30.1% of cancer deaths in Ohio are attributed to smoking. We owe it to them and everyone at risk of developing the disease, to do what we know works to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment.”

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.

This year’s report includes a special section examining efforts to stem youth tobacco product use by raising the legal age of sale for tobacco to 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 have prioritized efforts to keep tobacco products out of the hands of our kids. The special section draws attention to Big Tobacco’s dangerous agenda—including preempting local governments’ ability to pass strong tobacco control laws—and outlines the principles that make tobacco 21 policies effective.

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. 

ACS CAN looks forward to working with lawmakers to reduce the toll of tobacco by working to increase the investment in the state’s tobacco prevention and control programs. Additionally, ACS CAN will continue to work to strengthen enforcement mechanisms and retailer compliance in the recently passed tobacco 21 legislation. This legislation raised the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21.

“As advocates, we have the opportunity to work with our Ohio legislators on implementing the evidence-based policies and programs that prevent and treat cancer,” said Turner. “Together, we can build stronger, healthier communities and ensure Ohioans have access to measures that prevent disease before it occurs, ultimately saving more lives from cancer.”

To view the complete report and details on Ohio’s grades, 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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