Cancer Patients, Survivors to Lobby State Legislators on Tobacco Bill

BOSTON — More than 100 cancer patients, survivors, and their families from throughout Massachusetts will gather at the State House on Wednesday, March 29 from 11 a.m. to noon to ask lawmakers to support legislation protecting youth from the dangers of nicotine addiction.

The visit is part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) annual lobby day. This year, nearly 37,130 people will be diagnosed with cancer in Massachusetts, and an estimated 12,620 will lose their battle with the disease. But those gathering at the State House this week are working with legislators to change that, by taking a stand against tobacco use — an addiction responsible for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths.

Specifically, they will gather in support of An Act to Protect Youth from the Health Risks of Tobacco and Nicotine Addiction, which takes a comprehensive approach to tobacco-control efforts in the Commonwealth. The bill would increase the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21, include e-cigarettes in the smoke-free-workplace law, and prohibit sales of tobacco in facilities that provide healthcare, such as pharmacies.

This year, more than 2,800 Massachusetts kids will become new daily smokers, and 95{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of adults who smoke started by the age of 21. Passage of the bill, its proponents say, will once again make Massachusetts the leader in the fight against Big Tobacco and ensure that the Commonwealth has some of the strongest anti-tobacco policies in the nation.

“ACS CAN’s advocates will meet with our elected leaders as representatives of the many Bay Staters who are diagnosed with cancer each day,” said Marc Hymovitz, director of Government Relations for ACS CAN in Massachusetts. Survivors, caregivers, and youth volunteers will gather, he continued, “with one goal in mind: to pass legislation that will save lives.”