TOPEKA, Kan. – Aug. 9, 2018 – Kansas gets mixed reviews 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 Jordan Feuerborn, Kansas government relations director for ACS CAN. “In 2018 alone, more than 15,000 Kansans 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.”
Kansas measured up to benchmarks in two areas of tobacco control: smoke-free air laws and—thanks to a policy change implemented by state lawmakers and championed by ACS CAN—Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation tools. However, it fell short when it came to cigarette excise tax rates and state funding for programs to help people break their tobacco addiction.
Feuerborn said ACS CAN will continue to push for improved tobacco control policies into next legislative session.
“More than one-quarter of cancer deaths in Kansas can be attributed to smoking,” Feuerborn said. “And with the growing popularity of new tobacco products like e-cigarettes, it’s critical that our lawmakers stay ahead of emerging trends to keep our communities safe. ACS CAN’s goal next session is to reduce Kansas’ tobacco burden and keep kids from developing an addiction before they even have a chance to grow up.”
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 Kansas’ 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.