American Cancer Society Decries State Budget
Proposal cuts cancer screenings for most vulnerable citizens
(Bedford, NH) Today, the committee of conference agreed to a state budget that eliminates crucial services to help families dealing with cancer.
“This budget clearly states that cancer patients and their families are not a priority for New Hampshire,” stated Peter Ames, Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for the American Cancer Society. “It is our hope that the full legislature will stand with those citizens battling cancer and vote down this budget.”
The budget eliminates the New Hampshire Cancer Plan, which provides lifesaving screenings to low-income New Hampshire citizens. It also prevents and treats tobacco addiction, which kills 1,700 people in NH each year. The Cancer Plan could be fully funded by dedicating only $.05 of the cigarette tax to it. The American Cancer Society advocates for increasing the cigarette tax by $1.00, both to fund the Cancer Plan and to deter another generation from becoming addicted to tobacco.
“It is shameful that in these difficult economic times the state has decided to balance the budget by letting citizens fend for themselves in their fight against cancer. The New Hampshire way is to stand with each other during times of hardship, not leave people without options,” stated Cheryl Cutting of Concord, who survived breast cancer because a screening caught it early. “Your access to care should not be dependent on the size of your wallet.”
Additionally, the budget contains a cigarette tax increase of $.45 per pack, which is too low to assure a public health benefit, according to research. The American Cancer Society advocates for cigarette tax increases that will provide a deterrent to children, but due to marketing strategies of the tobacco industry, we cannot say this increase will be sufficient to curb youth smoking.
New Hampshire will receive over $500 million from tobacco-related revenues in the proposed budget. Over that same time, the state will spend nothing on tobacco prevention or services to help smokers quit. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 15,000 New Hampshire citizens will be diagnosed with cancer, and over 5,000 will die from the disease during the next biennium.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.