Wyoming Falls Short on Public Policies to Fight Cancer
State-By-State Report Shows Wyoming Can Improve its Tobacco Tax to Save Lives, Money
CHEYENNE, Wyo.—Wyoming falls short when it comes to implementing policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce cancer, according to a new report released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The annual "How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality" finds Wyoming meets the benchmark in just two of the nine public policy areas.
Wyoming earned a "red" ranking in several tobacco control categories, including its tobacco tax. At just 60 cents per pack, Wyoming’s current cigarette tax is one of the lowest in the nation. By significantly increasing taxes on cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco and all other tobacco products, Wyoming lawmakers can save lives, reduce health care costs and generate much-needed revenue.
"Unfortunately, Wyoming's tobacco prevention efforts are severely lagging, and we're paying the price for it," Dawn Scott, ACS CAN Wyoming grassroots manager. "Tobacco use is our number one cause of preventable death, and both adults and teenagers in the state use tobacco products at much higher rates than the national average. That’s why ACS CAN and our volunteers will work with our state lawmakers to advocate for a significant tobacco tax increase next session."
One of the most effective ways to help fight tobacco is through strong tobacco tax increases. In fact, increasing the price of all tobacco products by at least $1 per pack of cigarettes helps adults who use tobacco quit successfully and prevents youth from becoming addicted. Strong tobacco taxes also help save health care costs overall.
How Do You Measure Up? rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can fight cancer, including increased access to care through Medicaid, funding for cancer screening programs, smoke-free laws, cigarette tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, cessation coverage under Medicaid 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.
A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green indicates 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, 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.
# # #