Reducing, Preventing Tobacco Use and Access to Care Top List of Priorities for Minnesota Cancer-Fighting Advocates

ACS CAN urges legislature to implement public policies that reduce the cancer burden

January 12, 2021

Eagan, MN – As we embark on a new legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) prompts legislators to promote public policies that help all Minnesotans prevent, diagnose, treat and survive cancer.

This year in Minnesota, more than 33,000 people will hear the words “you have cancer” and will begin their battle against this disease. While cancer affects everyone, it does not affect everyone equally. ACS CAN is committed to working with lawmakers to address the youth tobacco use epidemic, as well as the health disparities that contribute to a higher cancer rate, later stage diagnoses and higher mortality rate among communities of color, low-income residents, rural residents and other medically underserved groups.

Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for cancer. And it’s also highly addictive. Funding of commercial tobacco prevention and cessation programs and ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products have both been proven to help keep kids from starting to use tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – and help adults quit.

Meanwhile, funding for breast and cervical cancer early detection programs helps ensure lower-income, uninsured and underinsured women have access to potentially lifesaving cancer screening and early detection services. These programs are critical for our work to improve cancer disparities and health care equity.

“Amid the pandemic, ACS CAN volunteers are working incessantly to help ensure our elected officials put the health of Minnesotans first. Our families, friends and neighbors deserve to live full, healthy lives, no matter their income, race, zip code or different abilities,” said Emily Myatt, ACS CAN Minnesota government relations director.

ACS CAN legislative priorities include:

  • Securing Funding for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation:  ACS CAN supports dedicating $15 million for commercial tobacco prevention and cessation programs in Minnesota. Funded by the tobacco settlement, ClearWay Minnesota,SM which provides most of the funding for tobacco prevention in Minnesota, will end by 2022. A long-term, sustainable solution must be in place before its sunset to continue to make strides against tobacco-related cancers in Minnesota. 
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening: ACS CAN will advocate to maintain current annual funding for the Sage Screening Program, the state breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment program for low-income uninsured and underinsured women.
  • End Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products: Flavors in tobacco products are one way the tobacco industry lures new, young users to a lifetime of addiction. The tobacco industry markets fruit and candy flavored products, including menthol cigarettes, to youth, African Americans, American Indians, the LGBTQ community, and other specific populations. Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products (including menthol cigarettes) is key to stall the youth tobacco use epidemic Minnesota faces today.

ACS CAN volunteers look forward to working with Minnesota lawmakers in the fight against cancer. For more information on how policymakers, businesses, organizations and individuals play a role in defeating cancer, visit