Lung Cancer Awareness Month met with record attack on lung cancer prevention
(November 3, 2016) -
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Denver – Lung cancer is the no. 1 cancer killer of both men and women, yet the tobacco industry is launching an unprecedented attack to stop Amendment 72, an initiative that would greatly reduce lung cancer in Colorado. Leading health organizations have come together in support of Amendment 72 and to denounce the tobacco industry’s deceitful campaign.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a time meant to raise awareness about, and honor those that have battled, this awful disease. Despite the clear link between lung cancer and smoking, the tobacco industry is ramping up its efforts to stop Amendment 72 and keep more kids and adults hooked on cigarettes. Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and Amendment 72 would increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1.75 per pack with a 22 percent increase on other tobacco products. Raising the price of cigarettes is one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use among kids and adults.
Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris and maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has invested more than $16 million to oppose Amendment 72. This is the most ever spent by a tobacco company in Colorado and is close to the most ever spent on a Colorado ballot measure which is $19 million.
“The tobacco industry is waging yet another campaign of deception to save their profits while trying to prevent the reduction of lung cancer and other tobacco related diseases,” said Bob Doyle, Director of Lung Health for the American Lung Association in Colorado.
The health groups outlined the many ways the tobacco industry campaign is deceiving voters. Despite the tobacco industry paying for the entire campaign to defeat Amendment 72, the media campaign does not mention any involvement by the tobacco industry, avoids using the words “cigarettes” or “tobacco”, and tells voters Amendment 72 is a “blank check” when, in fact, Amendment 72 outlines the healthcare programs that will be funded if the measure passes.
“The ’Blank Check’ campaign is another big lie from big tobacco,” said RJ Ours, Colorado Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Action Network. “Amendment 72 will generate millions of dollars to provide critical health resources for veterans, rural and underserved communities, youth mental health funding for medical research and $54 million in investments in programs to prevent kids from using tobacco and helping people to quit.”
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, each year 2,400 Colorado kids start smoking daily, 5,100 Colorado men and women die from a tobacco-related disease, smoking related healthcare costs exceed $1.8 billion and the annual smoking-caused productivity losses is $1.2 billion for Colorado.
“Tobacco use is harming our kids and adults, families, communities, healthcare system and employers,” said Dr. Debra Dyer, Chair of the Department of Radiology at National Jewish Health and Co-Chair of the Lung Cancer Task Force for the Colorado Cancer Coalition. “Amendment 72 protects Colorado, not the tobacco industry. That is why more than 100 public health, veterans, and community organizations endorse Amendment 72.”
Health groups hope this Lung Cancer Awareness Month includes a victory for public health and lung cancer prevention and reduction with Amendment 72.
For more information on Amendment 72, visit www.healthyco2106.com.
About the American Lung Association in Colorado
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit the newly redesigned website: Lung.org.