Report: Calif. Policies To Fight Tobacco Related Cancer Falling Short
California policies to prevent tobacco-related cancer deaths are falling short, according to a report released by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, KFBK News reports (KFBK News, 8/22).
Details of Report
The report measured the effectiveness of states' policies to prevent cancer in 12 "priority areas."
In each state, the priority areas were rated as "falling short," "some progress," "doing well" or "no funding" (ACS CAN report, 8/21).
Overall, the report found that many states are not meeting the majority of baseline standards. Specifically, 40 states had reached recommended benchmark in four or less of ACS' 12 legislative priority areas (ACS CAN release, 8/21).
According to the report, California is falling short in three of the 12 priority areas:
- Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation programs;
- Tobacco use prevention funding; and
- Tobacco tax and price increases.
Specifically, the report noted that California has not increased its tax on cigarettes in the last 10 years. Further, the report noted that Medi-Cal -- the state's Medicaid program -- does not cover tobacco cessation counseling or FDA-approved cessation medications for all beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the report found that California is making some progress in:
- Access to palliative care;
- Cigarette tax rates;
- Pain policies;
- Physical education time requirements; and
- Smoke-free laws.
In addition, the report found that the state is doing well in policies related to:
- Breast and cervical cancer early detection;
- Increased access to Medicaid;
- Indoor tanning device restrictions; and
- Restrictions on tobacco rating.
Specifically, the report highlighted the expansion of Medi-Cal and state legislation that prohibits individuals under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices (ACS CAN report, August 2014).
In response to the report, ACS board member Lori Bremner said that California "used to be a leader [in tobacco-related death prevention], so it is truly sad that we are now falling so far behind other states." Bremner noted that about 56,000 Californians die from cancer each year (KEBK News, 8/22).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.