Since February is Cancer Prevention Month, it is fitting that American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteers met virtually last week with lawmakers about priorities to fight cancer. This year 42,170 Washingtonians will be diagnosed with cancer. Saving lives from cancer is important to me because I’ve lost four family members to cancer and 12 more have battled cancer.
Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer. We need programs to keep kids from starting and to help people quit tobacco products. Yet, Washington ranks 41st in the nation when it comes to adequately funding such programs. Consequently, we asked legislators to increase the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs funding by $9.6 million.
I witnessed the death sentence of tobacco when I lost my dad to smoking nearly 30 years ago. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 kids who get hooked on tobacco will die prematurely just like my dad. We can’t let big tobacco tactics go unanswered by failing to fund prevention and cessation programs.
I’d like to thank Sen. Ann Rivers for supporting this increased investment in tobacco prevention and control programs. This is an investment that protects our kids, saves lives and reduces health care costs.