American Cancer Society releases NH Legislative Scorecard

On Great American Smokeout, American Cancer Society releases
New Hampshire Legislative Scorecard

Evaluates state lawmakers on their support for
tobacco control and access to health care

[Bedford, NH – November 19, 2009] – The American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, are releasing a legislative scorecard to rate New Hampshire lawmakers on two key votes from the 2009 session.

The first vote, HB392, which permitted cigar smoking in facilities that serve alcoholic beverages to the public, was opposed by the American Cancer Society.  The bill passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law in August.

“In a time when the Centers for Disease Control has shown that smoke free laws correspond to lower smoking rates, New Hampshire has taken a step backwards,” said Peter Ames, Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for the American Cancer Society in New Hampshire.

“Lawmakers who supported passage of the cigar bar bill have demonstrated they are willing to have more citizens exposed to secondhand smoke,” added Ames. “And because today is also the Great American Smokeout, it’s a timely reminder that millions of Americans are still struggling with addiction to tobacco, which remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the country.”

The second vote, SB115, which allowed young adults up to age 26 to buy into the Healthy Kids program, was supported by the American Cancer Society. This bill was passed by both the House and Senate and was signed into law in July.

“As we release this legislative scorecard,” said Ames, “we remind our elected officials that cancer issues are New Hampshire issues and our citizens take notice.”

The American Cancer Society marks the 34th Great American Smokeout on November 19 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk and creating more birthdays. Researchers say that quitting smoking can increase life expectancy – smokers who quit at age 35 gain an average of eight years of life expectancy; those who quit at age 55 gain about five years; and even long term smokers who quit at 65 gain three years. Smokers who want to quit can call the American Cancer Society Quit For Life® Program operated and managed by Free & Clear® at 1-800-227-2345 for tobacco cessation and coaching services that can help increase their chances of quitting for good.        

The American Cancer Society created the trademarked concept for and held its first Great American Smokeout in 1976 as a way to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for a day.  One million people quit smoking for a day at the 1976 event in California. The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to commit to making a long-term plan to quit smoking for good.