Vermont cancer advocates, survivors and care givers recently visited the Statehouse to encourage legislation that could help reduce the rate of cancer within the state as part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) Cancer Action Day.
The day centered around a theme of 3-4-50: Three behaviors – tobacco use, poor diet and lack of physical activity – that lead to four chronic diseases, including cancer, that lead to 50 percent of the deaths in Vermont each year.
“We know that an increase in the legal sale age of tobacco can be a critical component of a comprehensive approach to tobacco control, and thus a powerful tool in the fight against cancer,” ACS CAN Vermont Director of Government Relations Jill Sudhoff-Guerin said in a release. “Roughly 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. We can save countless lives and health care dollars if we tackle this problem by increasing the legal sale age of tobacco in Vermont.”
The cancer advocates urged Vermont lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 88, which would do just that. The day also included a session involving lawmakers and cancer researchers and physicians, who further supported the idea that preventing tobacco use is one of the strongest cancer prevention strategies.
“Lawmakers have heard from Vermonters of all walks of life – cancer survivors, local youth, professional athletes – about their personal commitment to fighting cancer through advocacy and public policy, and I hope their message resonated with lawmakers, and the Vermont legislature will commit to proven cancer fighting policies – including an increase in the tobacco sales age to 21,” Sudhoff-Guerin said in the release.