David Holmquist, with the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, says the report uses a dozen categories as benchmarks, giving the states a red light for failing to measure up, yellow for being part way there, and green for succeeding. Holmquist says Nebraska had a poor showing.
“We scored a red in eight categories, a yellow in three categories and a green in only one category,” he says.
Only ten states were found to be doing “very well” with cancer prevention efforts, though Nebraska’s among the 40 others that “need work,” he says. Holmquist says it’s disappointing Nebraska scored so low in all but one of the 12 categories.
“Our one green is in smoke-free laws,” Holmquist says. “We have one of the strongest smoke-free laws in the nation. Very few exemptions. There is no exemption, for instance, for casinos, although we don’t have casinos here. If that should ever happen, casinos would have to be smoke-free here as well.”
The annual report, called “How Do You Measure Up?”, is in its 12th year and illustrates how states stand on issues that play a critical role in reducing cancer incidence and death. Holmquist says Nebraska is failing in eight key areas.
“We haven’t raised our cigarette taxes in 12 years,” he says. “We’ve been trying to do it for four years but it hasn’t happened. We need to work very strongly on that. We also need to work to increase our funding for tobacco prevention and cessation.”
The Centers for Disease Control recommends about $21-million be spent in Nebraska on tobacco prevention and control, but the state now spends about $2.4 million on such programs, about 11% of what’s recommended.
Holmquist says, “What needs to happen is for the state legislature to take action on these issues and invest in some requirements that will improve outcomes and improve prevention for people who are potentially facing a cancer diagnosis.”
The report says 9,550 people in Nebraska will be diagnosed with cancer this year, while 3,480 people in Nebraska will die from it in 2014.
See the full report at: http://www.acscan.org