The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network doesn’t pull its punches. Announcing its pursuit of legislation that would ease the burden of cancer in New Jersey, a press release from the organization yesterday noted, “There are 143,000 kids now under 18 and alive in New Jersey who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.”
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the state. According to ACS CAN, more than 13% of adults in New Jersey smoke and approximately 10% of our high school students use e-cigarettes. Almost 12,000 deaths each year in the state are attributed to smoking, which kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — and thousands more die from other tobacco-related causes.
Among the legislation that ACS CAN is advocating for is a measure to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Although the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in the Garden State was recently restricted, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars remain on the market. The organization is also campaigning for regulation of “step therapy” policies. These are used by health insurers to require a patient to try and fail on other drug options before coverage is granted for the medication initially prescribed by the patient’s health care provider.