By Sam Baker - 08/11/11 05:30 PM EDT
States aren't doing enough to fight cancer, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) says.
ACS CAN released new findings Thursday that say states are passing up key opportunities to control healthcare costs and expand access to treatment.
The study tracked legislative action in five areas: funding for cancer screenings; laws requiring coverage for certain screenings; anti-smoking laws; funding for smoking prevention programs; and tobacco taxes.
Delaware was the only state to meet ACS CAN's benchmarks in every category, and only three states met the group's goals in four of the five areas.
“Missed opportunities to pass laws that fight and prevent cancer not only leave new state revenue and health savings on the table, but deny the potential for saving countless lives from a disease that still kills 1,500 people every day," ACS CAN chief executive John Seffrin said in a statement.
The report calls on states to eliminate exceptions to smoke-free laws, such as carve-outs for cigar bars and casinos. It also says that even the highest taxes on cigarettes — New York's $4.35 per-pack fee — aren't enough to offset the health costs associated with smoking.