Wyoming Falls Short on Tobacco Control, Public Policies to Fight Cancer

State-By-State Report Shows Wyoming Can Increase its Tobacco Taxes to Reduce Cancer Rates, Address Skyrocketing Tobacco and E-cigarette Use in the State

August 1, 2019

CHEYENNE, Wyo.—Wyoming continues to fall short on 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 one of the eight public policy areas. In 2019, more than 2,930 people in Wyoming will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 980 will die of the disease.

Specifically, Wyoming earned low marks in tobacco control efforts, including a “red” or failing grade for its cigarette tax rate. At just 60 cents per pack, Wyoming’s current cigarette tax is one of the lowest in the nation.

"We are very concerned about our tobacco tax given the state has above-average rates for tobacco use, especially among our high schoolers and pregnant women," said Jason Mincer, Wyoming government relations director for ACS CAN. "We’re also struggling with an epidemic of teen e-cigarette use and nearly 30 percent of Wyoming's high school students use these products. But we know one of the most effective ways to help reduce tobacco use is through strong tobacco tax increases. So we’ll be working with our lawmakers again next year to try and pass a $1.50 tobacco tax increase that includes e-cigarettes."

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, causing nearly 30 percent of cancer deaths in Wyoming. Tobacco also costs the state about $258 million in annual health care costs. Regular and significant tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to help adults quit and prevent kids from starting, while saving health care costs overall. 

How Do You Measure Up? rates states in eight specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer: increased access to care through Medicaid, access to palliative care, balanced pain control policies, cigarette tax levels, smoke-free laws, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, cessation coverage under Medicaid and restricting indoor tanning devices for people under 18.

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. 

How Wyoming Measures Up:

Increased Access to Medicaid                                                Red

Access to Palliative Care                                                         Green

Pain Policy                                                                                Yellow

Cigarette Tax Rates                                                                  Red

Smoke-free Laws                                                                      Red

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding          Yellow            

Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services             Yellow

Indoor Tanning                                                                          Red

To view the complete report and details on Wyoming’s grades, visit

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit


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Noe Baker
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager