Report: Arkansas Making Progress on Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

August 9, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas is making progress 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,” Arkansas measured up to policy recommendations in three of nine issue areas. The report was released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

“This 16th edition of the report shows how close Arkansas is to making a real difference in the fight against cancer,” said ACS CAN Government Relations Director Michael Keck. “We’ve made strides to ensure our neighbors can access lifesaving cancer screenings and treatment; now it is time to implement a $1.50 tobacco tax increase that would prevent 22,500 young people from ever starting to smoke.”

“How Do You Measure Up?” rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer, including increased access to care through Medicaid, funding for screening programs, smoke-free laws, cigarette tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and cessation coverage under Medicaid. The report also looks at whether a state provides a balanced approach to pain medication and if it has passed policies proven to increase patient quality of life.

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

View the complete report and details on Arkansas’ grades here

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Adrienne M. Lynch
Senior Specialist, Division Media Advocacy