Report: California Tobacco-Related Cancer Prevention Policies Lagging
California's cancer prevention policies, particularly those related to tobacco, have fallen behind those in other states, according to a report released by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, the Sacramento Bee reports (Buck, Sacramento Bee, 8/5).
Details of Report
The report measured the success of states' legislation aimed at reducing the rate of cancer (ACS CAN release, 8/6).
In addition to tobacco-related policies, the report reviewed:
- Bans on tanning beds;
- Cancer research spending;
- Healthy eating; and
- Screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers (Sacramento Bee, 8/5).
Overall, the report found that while some states made progress -- such as by passing legislation that requires insurers to cover oral forms of chemotherapy -- many states have failed to pass other cancer prevention measures. For example, no state during their 2015 legislative session passed statewide smoke-free ordinances that cover all workplaces (ACS CAN release, 8/6).
According to the Bee, California by some measures is on par with or surpassing other states. Specifically, the report cited progress such as:
- Expanded access to care under Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Preventive breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women;
- "Significant investments" in cancer-related research; and
- Tanning-bed bans for individuals younger than 18 years old.
However, the report found that California has fallen behind in several policies regarding tobacco. For example, California's 87-cent tax on cigarettes is one of the lowest in the country, compared with the average of $1.59 per pack. In addition, California is one of just three states that have not raised their taxes on cigarettes in the last 15 years.
Further, the report noted that California's electronic cigarette regulations are lagging. While e-cigarettes are banned for consumers under age 18, the products are not subject to the same tax and advertising restrictions as traditional tobacco products.
The report also found that California:
- Allocates about $58.9 million annually for tobacco-prevention efforts, well below CDC's recommendation of $347.9 million; and
- Is one of many states that have not raised the legal smoking age to 21 years old.
According to the Bee, many bills in the California Legislature aimed at addressing these shortcomings have failed.
Jim Knox, ACS CAN vice president of government relations in California, said, "Most people in California probably assume we have model legislation and lead the country, but the reality is we're in the back of the pack" (Sacramento Bee, 8/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.