How does NJ measure up in the fight against cancer?
New Jersey is one 34 states considered to be making progress on policies in the fight against cancer, according to a report released Thursday by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
'How Do You Measure Up?' goes state by state and examines 10 specific benchmarks surrounding legislative activity on cancer prevention and health care for patients.
New Jersey meets the benchmarks in five of the 10 issues:
- Tobacco Excise Taxes
- Smoke-free Laws
- Funding for Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening
- Increase Access to Health Coverage Through Medicaid
- Oral Chemotherapy Fairness
"New Jersey is a national leader when it comes to cancer screening," said ACS CAN's Ethan Hasbrouck in Trenton. "However, New Jersey is also dead last in the country when it comes to state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs."
Since 2012, Hasbrouck said, New Jersey has been the only state to not spend any state dollars on programs to prevent kids and adults from picking up a tobacco habit, or programs to help people quit.
Legislation in the state Assembly and Senate would dedicate 5 percent of cigarette tax revenue to anti-smoking initiatives. Hasbrouck estimated the earmark at $33 million annually.
The report also indicated New Jersey falls short in the category of indoor tanning.
In April 2013, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill prohibiting teenagers under the age of 17 from using tanning beds. It's ACS's belief that no one under 18 should be allowed to use indoor tanning facilities.
New Jersey was given the score of "Some Progress" in the categories of Cancer Pain Control and Palliative Care.
According to ACS, cancer diagnoses will hit 49,750 people in 2016, and 16,150 will die from it.
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