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Thanks, in part, to the great work of ACS and ACS CAN, the Indoor Tanning Association folds, citing a shrinking tanning industry

​The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) founded in 1999 to promote the business of indoor tanning is closing up shop, thanks to organizations like ACS, ACS CAN, and the 45-member National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, which work hard to educate the public and lawmakers about the tanning industry's contribution to skin cancer, particularly among young adults.

In an announcement in the August 1 online edition of IST Magazine for the indoor tanning industry, John Overstreet, the executive director of the ITA, wrote:

"In July, the Indoor Tanning Association Board of Directors voted to end operations and dissolve the corporation. . . Because of such factors as the recession, the Tan Tax, the aggressive push by the states to limit teen access to indoor tanning, and the unrelenting misinformation campaign waged against this industry in the media, we have seen the size of our industry decrease by half over the past eight years." 

The ITA had run into trouble several times with the Federal Trade Commission over the years for making false claims on its website. Two such claims were that indoor tanning does not increase skin cancer, and that indoor tanning is safer than outdoor tanning. Both statements are false. Those misrepresentations continued up until this year, despite a 2010 settlement with the FTC.

The death of the ITA comes as great news to ACS and ACS CAN, which has been working diligently for years to get the facts in front of the public, and get laws passed to protect minors from the dangers of tanning beds.

Here are some of the actual facts about indoor tanning and skin cancer:

  • Analyses have shown that indoor tanning use before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 59 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent, and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent. Similarly, a more recent study found that indoor tanning was associated with a six-fold increase in melanoma risk among women younger than age 30.
  • In 2009, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer increased the classification of UV emitting indoor tanning devices to the highest level of cancer risk – Group 1 –“carcinogenic to humans.” This classification places tanning devices in the same category as other known carcinogens such as tobacco, benzene, and asbestos.
  • Tanning devices deliver UVA dosages 5-15 times higher than delivered by the summer midday sun on a Mediterranean beach. UVA is the main UV wavelength individuals are exposed to in tanning devices and frequent exposure to UVA increases the risk of melanoma.

For more details, read this ACS CAN document titled "Just the Facts: Indoor Tanning."

ACS CAN and its advocates has been working tirelessly in states across the country to get laws passed that prohibit teen use of tanning devices. Thanks to their efforts, Oklahoma and West Virginia recently passed laws to prohibit the use of tanning devices for everyone under the age of 18. To date, 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, have adopted comprehensive indoor tanning laws. A recent Society-supported study, however, found that some businesses are flouting those laws.

  • ACS CAN releases 15th annual "How Do You Measure Up?" report

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has just released its 15th annual report on state legislative activity to reduce cancer incidence and mortality. This annual snapshot of key state policies indicates that as the nation is looking toward more state-driven solutions to address chronic disease prevention and access to health coverage, many states are actually falling behind in this area.

    The report prompted Society CEO Gary Reedy to write an op-ed piece that appeared August 4 in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

    “State lawmakers are in a unique position with proven opportunities at their fingertips to reduce the number of people in their states that hear the words, ‘you have cancer,’” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “When it comes to this disease, the decisions being made in our state capitals can be the difference between life and death for patients. By passing the proven policies laid out in this report, state lawmakers will not only be saving lives, they’ll be reducing long-term health care costs that can be reinvested back into state economies.”

    "How Do You Measure Up?" grades states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer:

    • Tobacco excise taxes
    • Smoke-free laws
    • Tobacco control funding
    • Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation
    • Indoor tanning restrictions
    • Access to Medicaid
    • Breast and cervical cancer screening programs
    • Pain policy
    • Access to palliative care

    Overall, the report found that:

    • 20 states reach benchmarks in only two or fewer of the nine legislative priority areas measured by ACS CAN
    • 29 states and the District of Columbia measure up in just three to five of the nine areas
    • Only two states – California and Massachusetts – meet benchmarks in six or more of the nine categories
    • No state meets benchmarks in eight or nine policy areas.

    A color-coded system is used to identify how well a state is doing:

    • Green represents the benchmark position and indicates that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices
    • Yellow indicates that a state making progress towards the benchmark position
    • Red means that a state is falling behind

    This year, increased access to health care through Medicaid is the issue where the most states met the benchmark, with 32 states rated green. Only four states --  Alaska, California, North Dakota, and Oklahoma -- are doing well on tobacco control funding, making it the issue where the fewest states met the benchmark. If you go to, you can use the drop-down to find your state's report card.

    The first "How Do You Measure Up?" report was released in 2003 and, in just 15 years, a lot of progress has been made when it comes to cancer advocacy at the state level. This milestone is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we have come.

    Since 2003, there has been a 25 percent drop in the cancer death rate. In 2003 only two states had smoke-free laws and 74 municipalities had passed smoke-free ordinances. Today, 25 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and 876 municipalities across the country have laws in effect that require 100 percent smoke-free workplaces, including restaurants and bars. In another example of recent progress, to date, 32 states and the District of Columbia have increased access to care by expanding eligibility for Medicaid enrollment and reduced the number of uninsured individuals in their states.

    Yet, this year alone, nearly 1.7 million Americans will hear the words "you have cancer." Therefore, while it's important to celebrate progress, work must continue to reduce suffering and death from cancer.

    You can find the full report at ACS CAN's press release on its report here.

  • The FDA proposes reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes; ACS CAN reacts

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing cutting the nicotine level in cigarettes to make them less addictive.

    On July 29, FDA chief Scott Gottlieb directed the agency's staff to develop new regulations on nicotine. The FDA has had the power since 2009 to regulate nicotine levels. 

    As part of the new strategy, the FDA is giving e-cigarette makers four more years to comply with a review of products already on the market. The agency intends to write rules that balance safety with e-cigarettes' role in helping smokers quit, Gottlieb said.

    A statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

    “We applaud the FDA for recognizing its significant role as a science-based agency in helping address the addictiveness of nicotine in cigarettes, products that kill an estimated 480,000 Americans each year. Commissioner Gottlieb’s vision of potentially reducing nicotine in cigarettes to below addictive levels could begin to create a critical public health strategy to address the leading cause of cancer and preventable death due to the use of cigarettes. 

    “Additionally, the FDA announced that it will examine actions to increase access to and use of FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications in order to help tobacco users quit.

    “Several actions presented by the FDA have the potential to help save lives from tobacco use. The FDA calls for reviewing the role of flavorings in tobacco products that are often attractive to youth through rulemaking. In the eight years following passage of the Tobacco Control Act, the tobacco industry has taken full advantage to exploit the lack of regulations of flavorings. Their tactics of targeting youth with electronic cigarettes advertising, promotions and flavorings have dramatically increased the use of e-cigarettes among kids. In addition to addressing flavorings, we ask the FDA to regulate the aggressive marketing practices of the tobacco industry which also contribute to youth use.

    “We are encouraged the FDA is using its authority in several ways to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products and help current users quit, however we urge the FDA to reconsider steps that would weaken the agency’s oversight over tobacco products, including cheap and flavored cigars which are popular with adolescents, and e-cigarettes. Specifically, we are concerned about the action to reconsider the regulation of so-called premium cigars. No tobacco product should escape the FDA’s oversight. The final deeming rule issued in May 2016 was based on the scientific evidence and any modification must be scientifically justified.

    “The actions to extend the compliance date for manufacturers to submit marketing applications for newly deemed products will allow many cigars, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products to stay on the market for years before a crucial first-step review by the FDA to determine their public health risk. We are concerned these extensions will perpetuate the wild west marketplace we are experiencing with new tobacco products. 

    “The FDA must use the full force of its authority in a scientific and transparent manner if we’re going to save lives, keep kids from starting lifelong, deadly addictions and end the scourge of tobacco on the American people in our lifetime. We look forward to working with the FDA as it embarks on examination of a number of significant and potentially lifesaving steps.”

    Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable heart disease, cancer, and death in the U.S.

  • Senate rejects slimmed-down repeal of the Affordable Care Act

    In the wee hours of July 28, the U.S. Senate rejected, 51 to 49, a scaled-down plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation, opposed by ACS CAN, would have eliminated the individual and employer mandate, as well as key protections of health benefits that were required under the ACA.

    According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill would have stripped health care from 15 million next year, and 16 million more in 2026.

    In a statement issued shortly before the early morning vote, ACS CAN urged both parties to put aside their differences to create a health care bill that would help, not hurt, people: 

    “The continuing effort by Senate leaders to figure out by trial and error some bill that might gain the needed 50 votes to pass is a threat to millions of Americans including cancer patients and survivors who must have comprehensive coverage in order to access prevention and medical treatment.  

    “Critical patient protections in the current health care law that ended discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, eliminated annual and lifetime benefit limits, and guaranteed minimum essential coverage will not be sustainable if the provisions reported to be in the “skinny” repeal bill are enacted into law.  The legislation could cause the individual insurance market to collapse putting millions of American families at financial risk.

    “Having access to adequate, affordable health insurance is essential to our nation’s ability to continue reducing death and suffering from cancer. Senate leaders in charge of this process need to consider the impact of their actions on the nation.  Once again, we urge both parties to put aside their differences to work on a health care bill that helps people instead of hurting them.” 

  • ACS CAN report finds cancer patients struggle to afford treatment

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), along with Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms, released a report on July 24 showing that cancer patients still struggle to afford their treatments, despite patient protections and reductions in out-of-pocket costs under current law.

    The new reportNavigating the Coverage Experience and Financial Challenges for Cancer Patients, surveyed hospital financial navigators across nine different states. These financial navigators work with patients to review their coverage options and get treatment.

    The report finds that since the passage of the health care law, patients' access to comprehensive health coverage has improved significantly. However, deductibles, co-pays,bv and co-insurance are still obstacles for patients to obtain the care they need. While out-of-pocket caps provide some security for individuals and families, meeting those caps in a short time can present is often difficult for patients.

    Additionally, as a way to try and control costs insurers are increasingly requiring medical management for patients, such as step-therapy, where a patient must take a less-expensive drug before trying a more  expensive prescription. These requirements create a burden for patients who are just trying to get well as quickly as possible.

    "The current health law has greatly improved access to meaningful health coverage for cancer patients, survivors, and all those with chronic diseases," said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. "Yet costs remain a challenge for those facing cancer. Our country and our lawmakers should come together to find bipartisan solutions that begin to address patient costs without sacrificing the quality of coverage." 

    ACS CAN says current proposals in Congress would likely make these concerns worse for patients, by eroding patient protections and increasing costs for consumers.

    Read the full report.

  • ACS CAN commends House committee for voting to boost medical research funding

    The House Appropriations Committee on July 19 approved the draft fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill on a vote of 28-22. It includes a $1.1 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a $82 million funding boost for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The bill preserves the individual programs and current funding levels for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cancer screening and early detection programs.

    A statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen follows:

    "ACS CAN commends Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro's (D-CT) commitment to increase cancer research funding through the NIH, and to protect cancer prevention efforts through existing programs and level funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    "The potential to develop new and promising targeted cancer detection tests, treatments, and therapies, is reliant on robust and sustained year-over-year federal funding increases. The $1 billion increase allocated for NIH in this bill, along with the continued funding of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, is an important step toward spurring continued scientific development and momentum against a disease that 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with this year.

    "Research is only one part of a comprehensive approach to reducing cancer incidence and death. The importance of early detection is apparent in the committee's decision to preserve level funding for cancer-specific early detection programs at the CDC rather than cutting or combining such programs into a broad chronic disease category as proposed by the administration.

    "Yet the number one preventable cause of cancer in the country remains tobacco use, and the bill passed today cuts the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) by $50 million. If enacted the cut would likely end the CDC's highly effective Tips From Former Smokers media campaign which has led five million smokers to attempt to quit smoking and 400,000 smokers to quit for good. OSH leads federal efforts to reduce tobacco-related death and disease by funding activities that help prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and help adult tobacco users to quit.

    "We greatly appreciate the committee's strong bipartisan commitment to increased cancer research funding, and urge the Senate to build on this NIH increase as well as restore OSH funding."

  • ACS CAN New England Research Breakfast raises record amount

    ​The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network's 10th annual New England Research Breakfast raised $341,100, a record for the New England fundraiser.

    Held last month at Boston's State Room, there were 300 people in attendance, including more than 60 sponsors representing health care delivery systems and hospitals, life science companies, academic institutions, banks, and law firms, among others. The event supports ACS CAN's efforts in advocating for public policy that helps to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

    The ACS CAN event garnered 16 new sponsors, in addition to many returning supporters. There were also 30 American Cancer Society (ACS)-funded researchers in attendance who shared their work with attendees.

    "Funding for cancer research is critical to the development of new, potentially lifesaving cancer diagnostic tools, prevention methods, and treatment," said ACS CAN President Chris Hansen, who spoke at the event. "Increasing federal funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute keeps the United States on the forefront of scientific discovery and innovation for medicine and technology while also spurring economic growth across the country."

    Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Director Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, delivered the keynote speech. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, a childhood cancer survivor, also spoke at the event. This year's event honorees were Henri and Belinda Termeer who were recognized for their commitment and philanthropy to cancer research and innovation. Sadly, Henri passed away unexpectedly in May. Belinda Termeer attended the research breakfast and her daughter, Adriana, pictured above, delivered remarks on behalf of the family.   

    The New England event is the third of approximately 30 research breakfasts planned for this year. Research breakfasts were held in New York and San Diego in April and May, respectively. Most of the remaining events will be held in September, October, and November. ACS CAN hosts these breakfasts to make the connection between the role ACS plays as the largest nonprofit funder of cancer research and the role of the federal government as the largest funder of cancer research in the United States.

    For more information on ACS CAN events, visit

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo is Adriana Termeer, delivering remarks on behalf of her parents, who were recognized for their commitment to cancer research and innovation. In the smaller image is WBZ-TV health reporter Mallika Marshall, MD, the mistress of ceremonies for the New England Research Breakfast.  

  • ACS CAN: Latest Senate health bill is worse for patients

    Below is the press statement ACS CAN President Chris Hansen sent today to national political, health policy, and congressional reporters regarding the revised Senate health bill:

    “The latest proposed changes to the Senate health care bill would make access to health coverage worse for those with pre-existing conditions like cancer. The reluctance by senators to include patient feedback and other relevant stakeholder perspectives in the process is preventing the development of a reasonable, bipartisan consensus that could improve the law and pass the Senate.

    “This bill would leave patients and those with pre-existing conditions paying more for less coverage and would substantially erode the progress our nation has been trying to make in providing affordable, adequate and meaningful coverage to all Americans.

    “Allowing insurance companies to sell bare-bones, tax credit eligible, catastrophic plans would create a segmented insurance market and essentially return cancer patients, survivors and anyone with a serious illness to an underfunded high-risk pool where a patients’ out-of-pocket costs could be unaffordable and coverage potentially inadequate.

    “The bill’s ‘stability funds’ to supplement these markets would fall woefully short and leave many patients unable to access, afford or maintain critical health coverage. This would be compounded by significant Medicaid cuts that would take away coverage from the working poor and the nation’s most vulnerable and would result in a patchwork system in which where you live may determine if you live.

    “We urge Senators to reject this legislation and come together to undertake a deliberate and inclusive process that would arrive at a bill that strengthens coverage and improves affordability for cancer patients, survivors and all those at risk for the disease.”

  • New ACS CAN structure to promote better integration and geographic alignment with the New ACS

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has announced a new structure that will foster better integration and better geographic alignment with the new American Cancer Society. This adjustment will help ACS CAN work more effectively and efficiently in support of public policies that help advance ACS' lifesaving mission.

    The new structure, which will take effect on July 1, will consist of three ACS CAN regions transitioning from the current four. Each of the new regions will correspond to a combination of two ACS regions. The ACS CAN Western Region will correspond to the ACS West and North Regions, the ACS CAN Central Region will correspond to the ACS North Central and South Regions and the ACS CAN Eastern Region will correspond to the ACS Northeast and Southeast Regions.

    The new model, which was developed after an extensive review of ACS CAN's current regional model and in consultation with ACS CAN colleagues across the country, will provide a more balanced and efficient staffing structure. Ultimately, it will build upon ACS CAN's impressive record of success and position the organization for even more advocacy wins that will help bring the enterprise closer to achieving its ultimate goal of saving more lives from cancer.

    "ACS CAN's close integration with ACS has always been critical to its success," said, ACS CAN President Chris Hansen. "Streamlining ACS CAN from the current four regions to a three-region structure will maintain a strong collaborative partnership with ACS, while efficiently and effectively supporting local, state and federal advocacy objectives."

    Ruth Parriott will serve as leader for the ACS CAN Western Region and will be based out of St. Paul, MN. Ruth joined ACS' National Government Relations Department in 1995 and has been instrumental in advocacy wins ranging from passage of comprehensive smoke-free legislation to implementation of the National Breast and Cervical Early Detection Program. Robert Morris will serve as regional lead for the Central Region and will be based out of Gulfport, MS. Over Robert's 18-year tenure with the organization, he's held numerous positions within ACS including cancer control manager, regional vice president and division cancer control vice president for the former Mid-South Division. Paul Hull will serve as regional lead for the Eastern Region and will be based out of Jacksonville, FL. Paul joined ACS in 2002 and has more than 25 years of experience in the legislative, government relations and public policy arena. ACS CAN regional leadership will serve as liaisons to corresponding ACS Regional Leadership Teams to ensure seamless integration and real-time communication about advocacy activity in relevant areas within the regions.

    Questions about the new ACS CAN structure should be directed to Marissa Brown, senior vice president, State and Local Advocacy.

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