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ACS CAN to Administration: keep your promise to end all flavored e-cigarettes

New ad urges President Trump to put kids' health over Big Tobacco company profits

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) together with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Truth Initiative launched an ad campaign this week urging President Trump to protect kids’ lives over tobacco industry profits and follow through on a commitment to pull all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

In September, the President, First Lady, and Administration officials committed from the Oval Office to issue comprehensive guidance to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, and enforce the guidance on all e-cigarette retailers. Newly released data shows that the youth e-cigarette epidemic continues to get worse. More than 5 million kids now use e-cigarettes, with flavored products being a primary driver for use.

A statement from the public health groups follows:

“The ad campaign is in response to recent comments from the President and White House officials that appear to walk back a commitment that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would release and enforce comprehensive guidance to clear the marketplace of all e-cigarette flavors and proactively address the growing youth e-cigarette use crisis.

“Any attempts to weaken this guidance will further fuel the public health epidemic that has resulted from FDA’s delayed regulation of these addictive products and can only be seen as bending to the agenda of the profit-driven e-cigarette industry. Flavor carveouts or exemptions for certain retailers are simply unacceptable and will continue to allow e-cigarette manufacturers to hook a new generation of users by masking nicotine addiction behind flavored products.

“The Administration, through strong and comprehensive FDA guidance, must protect our children and halt the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. Our kids’ health isn’t for sale and the President should not cave to industry interests.”

Watch the new ad.

  • ACS CAN receives award for advocacy communications campaign

    ​Campaign highlighted how proposed changes to Medicare's six protected classes would hurt patients

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) was selected as a 2019 Modern Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards winner. 

    ACS CAN received the Silver Award for Integrated Campaigns in the Advocacy category for its successful strategic communication campaign executed earlier this year in response to proposed changes to Medicare's six protected classes.  If finalized, the proposal could have dramatically impacted timely access to affordable medication and care for patients with serious illnesses, including cancer patients. 

    The annual Marketing Impact Awards honor campaigns that advance provider, insurer, supplier, and advocacy group efforts to deliver and promote high quality, affordable, and accessible health care.

    ACS CAN’s award submission featured the paid, earned, and social media tactics that were employed as part of its integrated campaign while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considered its final rule. Included in the submission were the print, digital and television advertising campaign run in January and May to amplify the voices of cancer patients and survivors; media coverage garnered from press statements and a Capitol Hill lobby day patient fly-in; and the ACS CAN-led day of action on Twitter encouraging advocates to share their concerns directly with HHS Secretary Azar through the hashtags #DontDelayAccess and #CoverCancerRx.  

    In May, just days after ACS CAN launched its video campaign, HHS issued its final rule, which did not include the most problematic proposed changes to drug coverage in the six protected classes, making it clear that ACS CAN’s months-long campaign successfully elevated the voices of cancer patients and survivors. 

    The complete list of 2019 Modern Healthcare Marketing Impact Award winners is available online.

  • Survey highlights barriers to therapies to combat side effects of cancer treatment

    ​Barriers to accessing appropriate therapies to address the physical and psychological side effects of cancer treatment continue to persist for patients and survivors, according to survey results from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

    Survivor Viewsan initiative launched by ACS CAN in January, established a national cohort of cancer patients and survivors to complete a series of six individual surveys focusing on a range of public policy issues important to the cancer patient and survivor community. The results of the first survey, which are being released today, focus on patient experiences treating the symptoms and side effects of their cancer and access to supportive or palliative care services.

    The survey found patients and survivors experience a wide range of symptoms and side effects as a result of their cancer care. While effective treatments exist for several of these physical and psychological side effects, the survey results indicate many patients and survivors are not accessing them for a variety of reasons. 55% of respondents reported physical limitations or difficulties completing tasks as a result of their cancer care, but only 26% reported being referred to physical, occupational or speech therapy by their health care provider. Similarly, 51% of patients reported anxiety or depression as a result of their cancer while only 10% reported being referred to a mental health provider for additional therapy.

    Many survivors also reported adverse symptoms or pain well after their active treatment concluded. Of survey respondents who reported pain or other symptoms during treatment, two-thirds noted the symptoms resulting from their cancer or treatment continued well after active treatment concluded.

    “Too many cancer patients and survivors are not receiving the appropriate treatments and therapies that would alleviate the side effects of their cancer care,” said Lisa Lacasse, ACS CAN president. “At a time when our health care system is facing incredible pressure to evolve, it’s clear that our approach to health care must become more holistic and provide patients with better coordinated options to alleviate the physical and psychological side effects of a cancer diagnosis. This coordinated, patient-centered care must continue well into survivorship, as patients continue to live with the lasting side effects of their cancer and its treatment.”

    Barriers to accessing prescription drug treatments to alleviate pain that often accompanies cancer treatment were also apparent in the survey results. Over half of cancer patients or survivors participating in the survey who have been prescribed opioids in the last 12 months voiced concern about their future ability to access appropriate pain medications. More than 40% of these respondents had already experienced barriers to accessing pain treatment. Respondents reported these barriers had direct adverse impacts on their lives, including inability to work or participate in family or social events, setbacks in their ongoing cancer treatment, and the need for additional emergency care to treat uncontrolled pain.

    Survivor Views is providing ACS CAN with timely, firsthand information that will drive our advocacy efforts forward, giving cancer survivors a voice in the issues directly affecting their lives,” Lisa said. “The release of the first survey results focusing on patient experiences with treating pain and other side effects associated with a cancer diagnosis provides valuable insight into the shortcomings patients face in trying to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis and highlights that symptoms can extend months and years after treatment concludes.”

    A detailed summary of the survey findings can be found here.

  • Palliative care bill unanimously approved by House

    ​ACS CAN urges Senate  to do the same

    On Oct. 28, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). The bipartisan bill would increase federal research funding for palliative care, including pain and symptom management, and would establish palliative care education and training programs for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. It would also create a national public education and awareness campaign to educate patients and providers about the availability and benefits of palliative care.

    The PCHETA legislation is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 294 House lawmakers and was voted out of the House with unanimous support. The bill’s passage in the House of Representatives clears the way for Senate consideration.

    A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN, follows:

    “We commend House lawmakers for working in a bipartisan way to pass PCHETA and give cancer patients, survivors, and others living with serious illnesses and chronic conditions hope for a future with greater access to palliative care services. With 294 bipartisan cosponsors and unanimous approval by the House, it’s clear elected officials recognize the critical role palliative care plays in improving the coordination of care and quality of life for their constituents living with serious illnesses, like cancer.

    "There is a serious need for investment in policies that will enhance and increase access to palliative care services. The PCHETA legislation seeks to expand patient awareness of, and access to, palliative care while improving care coordination to provide an extra layer of support for patients and families from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship. Additionally, the PCHETA legislation will greatly aid in developing more robust pain and symptom management training programs, while also bolstering federal pain research efforts at the National Institutes of Health.

    “ACS CAN and the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) have long advocated for this critical bill. We urge the Senate to move quickly to pass this important legislation in a bipartisan manner.”

  • ACS CAN backs Administration plan to remove flavored e-cigarettes from market

    ​Joins 55 other groups in sending letters to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump

    In a letter to President Trump, 56 public health, medical, parent, educational, and other organizations today expressed strong support for the Administration’s plan to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market and urged that the plan be swiftly and fully implemented. A similar letter was sent to First Lady Melania Trump, who has raised alarms about the youth e-cigarette epidemic and supported efforts to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

    In response to new data showing that the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gotten even worse this year and 5 million U.S. kids now use e-cigarettes, the Administration on September 11 announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon issue a final policy to “clear the market” of flavored e-cigarettes – including mint and menthol as these two flavors are used by 64 percent of high school e-cigarette users. The Administration stated that the FDA will issue the policy within weeks and enforce it a month later.

    “Our organizations commend and fully support your plan to remove all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes from the market, including mint and menthol flavors. If this plan is swiftly and fully implemented, it will play a critical role in reversing the youth e-cigarette epidemic,” the letter to the President states.

    Results of two newly-released national surveys show the youth e-cigarette epidemic is worse than ever and is putting millions of kids at risk of nicotine addiction and other health dangers.

    • According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (2019 NYTS), e-cigarette use among high school students increased to 27.5% in 2019, up from 20.8% in 2018 and 11.7% in 2017. Altogether, 5 million middle and high school students – including more than 1 in 4 of all high school students – now use e-cigarettes.

    • Similarly, the 2019 Monitoring the Future survey showed that 25.4% of 12th graders report vaping nicotine in the past 30 days, compared to 20.9% in 2018 and 11% in 2017. Alarmingly, 1 in 9 of all high school seniors (11.7%) report that they vaped nicotine nearly daily, a strong indication of addiction. 

    The evidence is clear that flavors play a critical role in youth use of e-cigarettes. Research has found that nearly all (97%) current youth e-cigarette users use flavored e-cigarettes and 70% cite flavors as a key reason for their use. The 2019 NYTS found that 63.9% of high school e-cigarette users use mint or menthol-flavored products, an increase from 51.2% in 2018 and 42.3% in 2017. 

    Adding to the urgent need to protect kids, health authorities are currently investigating at least 530 cases of serious respiratory illnesses associated with use of e-cigarette products in 38 states, with 9 deaths now reported. Many cases involve teens and young adults.

    In their letter to First Lady Melania Trump, the organizations thanked her for raising the alarm about the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The First Lady joined the President in the Oval Office for the announcement of the new policy to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market, and she recently tweeted, “I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

    Here is the list of groups signing the letter to the President:

    • Academy of General Dentistry

    • Action on Smoking and Health

    • African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council

    • Allergy & Asthma Network

    • American Academy of Family Physicians

    • American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology

    • American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery

    • American Academy of Pediatrics

    • American Association for Cancer Research

    • American Association for Respiratory Care

    • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

    • American College of Cardiology

    • American College of Physicians

    • American College of Preventive Medicine

    • American Dental Association

    • American Federation of School Administrators

    • American Federation of Teachers

    • American Heart Association

    • American Lung Association

    • American Medical Student Association

    • American Public Health Association

    • American School Health Association

    • American Society of Clinical Oncology

    • American Thoracic Society

    • Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

    • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

    • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

    • Catholic Health Association of the United States

    • ClearWay Minnesota

    • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

    • Counter Tools

    • Eta Sigma Gamma – National Health Education Honorary

    • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

    • March of Dimes

    • National African American Tobacco Prevention Network

    • National Association of County and City Health Officials

    • National Association of Elementary School Principals

    • National Association of School Nurses

    • National Association of Secondary School Principals

    • National Education Association

    • National Hispanic Medical Association

    • National Network of Public Health Institutes

    • Oncology Nursing Society

    • Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes (PAVe)

    • Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes

    • Public Health Law Center

    • Public Health Solutions

    • Respiratory Health Association

    • Society for Public Health Education

    • Students Against Destructive Decision

    • The Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education

    • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

    • Trinity Health

    • Trust for America’s Health

    • Truth Initiative

    • U.S. PIRG

  • Bloomberg Philanthropies invests $160 million to address youth e-cigarette use

    Campaign will target flavored e-cigarettes and the marketing of products to children  

    Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the creation of a new $160 million initiative to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The new initiative launches on the heels of 33 states investigating more than 450 cases of lung illnesses associated with vaping, many of which involve teens and young adults.

    "The American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network are proud to join Bloomberg Philanthropies and our public health partners in this new campaign to work to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic across the country by prohibiting flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes and compelling the FDA to swiftly exercise its authority granted by Congress to aggressively regulate all tobacco products," said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

    An excerpt of the press release is below. You can access the full press release on and the ACS policy position statement on e-cigarettes on

    If you receive media requests, please coordinate with your ACS CAN media advocacy colleagues.


    Bloomberg Philanthropies Launches New $160 Million Program to End the Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic


    New initiative launches on heels of 33 states investigating more than 450 cases of lung illnesses associated with vaping, many of which involve teens and young adults

    New York (September 10, 2019)—In response to alarming levels of e-cigarette use among youth in the United States—including a 78 percent increase among high school students in just one year—Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the creation of a new $160 million initiative to end the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

    Goals of the initiative, "Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes," include banning all flavored e-cigarettes—and stopping Juul and other e-cigarette companies from marketing their products to children. The three-year program will be led by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which will partner with other leading organizations including parent and community groups concerned about the nation's kids and health.

    More than 3.6 million middle and high school students in the United States use e-cigarettes, accounting for about one-third of all U.S. e-cigarette users. E-cigarettes with kid-friendly flavors such as mint, mango, gummy bear and cotton candy are fueling this epidemic; 97 percent of kids who use e-cigarettes use the flavored varieties, and 70 percent report the flavors as the reason they use e-cigarettes. Teen smoking rates in the United States declined by more than 70 percent between 2000 and 2018, but the spike in e-cigarette use among youth threatens to undo a generation's worth of progress.

    The creation of the initiative comes as health authorities in 33 states are investigating more than 450 cases of severe respiratory illnesses associated with vaping, with many cases involving teens and young adults. A CDC health advisory released in response to these alarming incidents encourages e-cigarette users to stop using these products while investigations into the cause of these illnesses are ongoing.



  • ACS CAN celebrates staff and volunteers with top advocacy awards

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day began on Sunday with the National Advocacy Leadership Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., where staff and volunteers were recognized for the exceptional work they do throughout the year to make cancer a top national priority.

    The 2019 recipients include:


    Alan Mills Award - ACS CAN’s highest honor for advocacy staff, recognizes any current staff person who has consistently demonstrated leadership and excellence in the area of advocacy and public policy.

    • Jim Knox, Managing Director, California: Jim has spent his 15-year career with ACS and ACS CAN demonstrating tremendous leadership and excellence in advancing public policy critical to the fight against cancer, including groundbreaking tobacco control work throughout the state of California.

    Field Government Relations Professional of the Year - This award recognizes a government relations professional who has worked tirelessly to make a powerful, lasting impression in cancer-related public policy.

    • Lynda Barbour, Southern California Government Relations Director: Lynda Barbour was recognized for her vital role in securing significant tobacco control grants that will build ACS CAN’s capacity in diverse and underserved regions of California.

    Field Grassroots Professional of the Year - This award is given to an ACS CAN staff member whose collaborative efforts further the achievement of advocacy-related mission goals.

    • Cori Chandler, Rhode Island Grassroots Manager: In addition to motivating Rhode Island volunteers in their successful fundraising efforts, Cori spent the 2019 legislative session at the Rhode Island State House testifying on behalf of policies important to her and to ACS CAN’s mission.

    Regional Professional of the Year - This award is presented each year to an exemplary staff member who has made significant contributions to the organization through their cancer advocacy work.

    • Cynthia Serna, Associate Director, Grassroots and Program Integration: Cynthia was recognized for her commitment to supporting the enterprise’s diversity and inclusion efforts, including integrating ACS CAN staff into Employee Engagement Groups (EEGs) and her role as trainer and co-facilitator for the Diversity & Inclusion Competence and Confidence training series.

    American Cancer Society Partner of the Year - This award is given to a staff member at the American Cancer Society whose collaborative efforts with the organization’s advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN, further the achievement of advocacy-related mission goals.

    • Ruth Hong, Director, Strategic Partnerships-Volunteer Engagement: Ruth led an 18-month discovery team to identify and address challenges that ACS CAN Grassroots Managers face in volunteer recruitment and onboarding, including designing a new and improved volunteer onboarding process.


    Volunteer Award for Excellence in Advocacy (VAEA) - This award is the highest national volunteer advocacy honor bestowed by ACS CAN.

    • George and Brooke Blough, West Virginia: George and Brooke are longtime volunteer leaders at ACS CAN, sharing George’s story as a 29-year, stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor to advance legislation critical to fighting cancer. George was recognized as ACS CAN’s SLA of the year in 2010 and she received the St. George’s Medal from the American Cancer Society in 2013; Brooke was recognized as ACT Lead of the Year in 2014.

    State Lead Ambassador (SLA) of the Year - This award is presented to a lead state volunteer who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in advocating for ACS CAN’s area of cancer-related public policy.

    • Michael Holtz, Tennessee: Michael Holtz is an outspoken advocate for cancer-fighting policies in Tennessee and across the country, sharing his personal story as a colorectal cancer survivor to Michael’s story was featured in this year’s Lights of Hope promotional video.

    Ambassador Constituent Team (ACT) Lead of the Year - This award is given to a lead congressional district volunteer who has demonstrated remarkable leadership advocating for ACS CAN’s areas of cancer-related public policy.

    • Mario Landera, Florida: Mario frequently attends Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer committee meetings to raise awareness of ACS CAN legislative priorities and recruit ACS CAN members, in addition to frequently representing ACS CAN with Spanish-speaking local and national media.
    • Pam Manges, Ohio: Pam’s ability to develop strong relationships with her former and current lawmakers and their staff has resulted in co-sponsorship for ACS CAN’s priority federal quality of life and colorectal cancer screening legislation, in addition to her dedication to attending Relays in target districts to collect petitions.
    • Grace Pugh, California: In addition to utilizing her role as a member of the ACS San Gabriel Valley Leadership Council to raise awareness of ACS CAN’s latest news and campaigns, Grace recruited new volunteers and ACS CAN members this year and helped her local Relay For Life achieve CAN Club status.

    Emerging Leader Award - This award is presented to a state volunteer who has demonstrated an exciting promise in their start with ACS CAN by taking advantage of new opportunities to advocate for cancer patients.

    • Cindy Vo, Georgia: Cindy elevates her voice as a cancer survivor and child of first-generation Vietnamese refugees to advocate for increased access to health care throughout her state. Her story is among those featured in ACS CAN’s Medicaid Covers US educational campaign.


    State Advocacy Team of the Year - This award is presented to combined staff and volunteer teams that have worked together to make a significant impression in cancer-related public policy.

    • Illinois: The ACS CAN Illinois team succeeded in its two-year effort to make Illinois the first Midwestern state to raise the legal age of sale of tobacco products to 21, in addition to securing a significant $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase, which is expected to prevent 28,700 kids from smoking.

    Please check the Monthly Advocacy Update this week for more updates on Leadership Summit and Lobby Day.

    Top Photo: George and Brooke Blough, recipients of the 2019 Volunteer Award for Excellence in Advocacy.

    Small Photo: Ruth Hong, Director, Strategic Partnerships-Volunteer Engagement and recipient of 2019 ACS Partner of the Year Award poses with ACS and ACS CAN CEO Gary Reedy; ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse; ACS CAN Vice President of Advocacy Administration, Training & Operations.

  • ACS CAN Leadership Summit and Lobby Day begins Sunday

    Hundreds of advocates will head to Washington, D.C. to urge their lawmakers to make cancer a national priority 

    Next week, nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones will travel to the nation's capital for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network's (ACS CAN) annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day, which will be held from Sep. 8 to 11. 

    The advocates will represent all 50 states and nearly every congressional district as they convene on Capitol Hill to ask Congress to make the fight against cancer a national priority. Read below for the week's busy agenda and to see how you can stay up-to-date on the action!

    Sunday, Sept. 8 – Monday, Sept. 9

    Hundreds of volunteers will gather in D.C. on Sunday, just in time for the annual ACS CAN Advocacy Awards Dinner, where dedicated ACS CAN volunteers and staff will be recognized for their outstanding work in cancer advocacy. Check My Society Source on Monday morning for a full list of award recipients.

    The advocates will spend Monday in breakout and training sessions to prepare for their lawmaker meetings the next day, as well as hear from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

    Tuesday, Sept. 10

    On September 10, ACS CAN volunteers will head to Capitol Hill and ask their members of Congress to:

    • Increase federal funding for cancer research and prevention programs at the National Institutes of Health by at least $2 billion;
    • Advance the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), legislation that would support patients' quality of life by increasing access to palliative care;
    • Support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screenings Act, legislation that would close a loophole in Medicare that often results in surprise costs for seniors when a polyp is found during a routine colonoscopy;
    • Support the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act and the Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids Act, legislation that would restrict flavoring of tobacco products to protect kids.

    NCAA Division I basketball coaches Fran McCaffery of the University of Iowa, Jamion Christian of George Washington University, and retired coach and two-time cancer survivor Dave Rose of Brigham and Young University will rally the advocates before they go to Capitol Hill for their meetings with lawmakers. The coaches are members of Coaches vs. Cancer®, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches™.

    The coaches and advocates will be joined by several representatives from the Gates Millennium Scholars program as part of its collaboration with ACS CAN, along with selected Gen2End Ambassadors and representatives of the Campus Leadership Team. A full list of these attendees is below.

    Throughout the day, volunteers will participate in interviews as part of the radio and television media tour that is coordinated to promote Leadership Summit & Lobby Day.

    The ACS CAN Lobby Day will end with an evening Lights of HOPE ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool featuring more than 40,000 lights to honor those who have been touched by cancer. The ACS CAN Lights of HOPE ceremony is presented by Celgene. Follow @ACSCAN and #LightsofHope on Twitter and Instagram for live updates and photos from the powerful event.

    Wednesday, Sept. 11

    Leadership Summit and Lobby Day will conclude on Wednesday with a keynote address from actress and cancer survivor Marcia Cross.

    Stay Up to Date with #CancerLobbyDay

    Volunteers are encouraged to stay up to date with Leadership Summit & Lobby Day by following @ACSCAN on social media. Live updates and photos will be shared throughout the week using #CancerLobbyDay and #LightsofHope. You can also check My Society Source and ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse's Cancer CANdor Blog for updates as the week goes on. 

    Gates Scholars: Aracely Navarro, Crystal Harrell, Carolina Regalado Murillo, Hananiel Setiawan, Antone Morrison, and Briana Flatley

    Gen2End Ambassadors: Bridget Toomey, Remy Kennedy, Melissa Koshy, Asra Sami, Harry Jensen, Milo Gringlas, and Dana Bernson

    Campus Leadership Team: Cindy Vo, Rebecca Powell, Anita Sloan, Hannah Gaffney, and Nathan Farnor 

  • New ACS CAN report measures state efforts to prevent and reduce cancer

    In almost every state, legislatures are missing opportunities

    On August 1, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released its 17th annual How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality. The report illustrates state legislative efforts to advance policies that help reduce death and suffering from cancer. Detailed state-by-state information and a full copy of the report are available at

    How does your state measure up in the fight against cancer?

    How Do You Measure Up? is an annual snapshot of where all 50 states and Washington, D.C. – and U.S. territories, where information is available – stand in the fight against cancer, using a color-coded rating system. Green represents the benchmark position and indicates that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates that a state is making progress towards the benchmark position, and red means that a state is falling behind. 

    The report is aimed at state legislators and other stakeholders in the policy-making process to highlight the critical role they play in ACS CAN’s advocacy work to implement evidenced-based policy solutions proven to help fight cancer. 

    The report focuses on eight legislative priority areas critical to reducing the cancer burden: 

    • Increased access to Medicaid 
    • Access to palliative care
    • Pain policy 
    • Tobacco excise taxes 
    • Smoke-free laws 
    • Tobacco control funding 
    • Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation 
    • Indoor tanning restrictions 

    ACS CAN staff and volunteers have made incredible progress in implementing legislative solutions to prevent, manage, and treat cancer, with more than half of the states in our country making progress in passing cancer-fighting policies. However, the 2019 How Do You Measure Up? report shows that in almost every state, legislatures are missing opportunities to enact laws and policies that would save more lives and boost local economies. ACS CAN continues to engage with policymakers to take action in the areas where states are falling short this year. 

    Special section: Tobacco 21

    This year’s report also includes a special section examining legislative efforts to stem youth tobacco product use by raising the legal age of sale for tobacco to 21. The special section draws attention to the tobacco industry’s agenda of co-opting good-faith tobacco 21 legislation to include provisions that do not effectively protect youth from its dangerous products but instead help protect the industry’s own profits.

    Report promotion 

    ACS CAN media advocacy staff are working with national, state, and local reporters and news outlets to promote How Do You Measure Up?, highlight ACS CAN’s priority campaigns in their states, and coordinate interviews with ACS CAN spokespeople. The report will be promoted on ACS CAN’s national TwitterFacebook, and Instagram accounts, and staff are encouraged to share content directly from the ACS CAN pages. ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse will be sharing her thoughts on the report on her Cancer CANdor Blog


    Questions about the report or state-specific efforts can be directed to Rachel Marcus, ACS CAN state and local campaigns manager. If staff receive media requests related to the report, please contact your local ACS CAN media advocacy staff partner.

    TOP PHOTO:  This graphic shows state decisions on increasing Medicaid eligibility up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level ($17,236 for an individual; $35,535 for a family of four). Green states have expanded Medicaid eligibility; red indicates that the governor and/or state legislature chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income state residents.

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