New Report: Oregon Could Do More to Prevent Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, or ACS, roughly 5,500 Oregonians will die from smoking this year, and the state will spend more than $1.5 billion in health care costs due to tobacco use.

A new report released by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) also finds Oregon could be doing more to prevent these deaths. The report specifically takes Oregon to task because other studies show tobacco use decreases with increased tobacco taxes, and Oregon is only charging $1.33 a pack, which is below the $1.73 national average.

Notably, ACS CAN supported legislation to raise Oregon’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack and tax e-cigarettes at an equal rate. Instead, lawmakers passed HB 2270, referring the $2 tobacco tax increase to the November 2020 ballots for voters to decide.

The annual How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality finds Oregon meets the benchmark in four categories and falls short in just one area. However, the state has room to improve in several key areas of tobacco control, specifically increasing its cigarette tax rate. The report also finds indoor tanning is an issue for Oregon.

The report uses color-coded system to show how well a state is doing in each legislative area that can effect cancer prevalence and outcomes. Green shows the state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where state is falling short.

For Oregon…

• Increased Access to Medicaid: Green
• Access to Palliative Care: Green
• Pain Policy: Yellow
• Cigarette Tax Rates: Yellow
• Smoke-free Laws: Green
• Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding: Yellow
• Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services: Green
• Indoor Tanning: Red