INDIANAPOLIS – After three years of virtual Cancer Action Days, cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from across the state traveled to the capitol in Indianapolis yesterday to meet in person with their elected officials. They let their lawmakers know with 34% of cancer deaths in Indiana caused by smoking, Indiana can and must do better to prevent cancer by reducing tobacco use and treating cancer.
Advocates urged state lawmakers to prioritize tobacco control measures, including increasing the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack, increasing the tax on all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to parallel the new cigarette tax, and investing $15 million in tobacco control programs. In doing so, Indiana would take a decisive step towards reducing tobacco use and its devastating toll on our communities with the cigarette tax increase alone projected to keep 24,500 kids from becoming adults who smoke, help 50,200 adults who smoke quit, and save 19,900 lives.
Furthermore, they asked lawmakers to invest funding into cancer research. Cancer research saves lives and few states are better positioned to benefit from cancer research investments than Indiana. Not only does Indiana have cancer death rates higher than the national average, but it is also home to two premier cancer research centers at Indiana University and Purdue University. It is time for Indiana to join approximately 15 other states and provide funding for lifesaving cancer research happening here in Indiana.
This year, an estimated 40,270 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with cancer and 13,660 are expected to die from the devastating disease. Those gathered at the capitol yesterday are calling on Indiana lawmakers to change this by taking steps to make the fight against cancer a priority.