INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Aug. 9, 2018 – Indiana falls short when it comes to implementing policies and passing legislation to reduce cancer incidence and death from tobacco use, according to the latest edition of “How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality.” The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released the report today.
“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 cancer screening programs, tobacco control policies and restricting indoor tanning devices for minors. 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.
“This report confirms that we must do more to reduce suffering and death from cancer,” said Bryan Hannon, Indiana government relations director for ACS CAN. “In 2018 alone, more than 37,000 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with cancer. We owe it to them and everyone at risk of developing the disease to pass policies that prevent premature, tobacco-related death.”
Indiana failed to measure up in nearly every area of tobacco control. The state hasn’t raised its tobacco tax in more than 10 years, and many workplaces still aren’t completely smoke-free. Indiana also falls short in funding for programs to help people who use tobacco to end their addiction, offering only 10 percent of the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended funding level.
The General Assembly has missed multiple opportunities to reduce Indiana’s tobacco burden over the past few years, including in the most recent legislative session.
“Nearly one-third of cancer deaths in Indiana can be attributed to smoking,” Hannon said. “And with our current tobacco control policies, approximately 151,000 Hoosier kids alive today will ultimately die prematurely from tobacco use. We can all agree that’s unacceptable, and we’re calling on lawmakers to do something about it in the next legislative session. A significant increase in the cigarette tax is long overdue and is the best thing we can do to address Indiana’s tobacco crisis.”
Nationally, the report finds that increased access to health coverage through Medicaid is the most met benchmark, with 34 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, having broadened Medicaid eligibility to cover individuals under 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Smoke-free legislation is the second-most met benchmark with 25 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, considered “doing well.”
To view the complete report and details on Indiana’s grades, visit www.fightcancer.org/measure.
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.