Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
Subscribe to the Healthy Life Virginia newsletter: fredericksburg.com/gethealthy
The cancer state?
In the American Cancer Society’s new report on how wells states are doing when it comes to enacting laws that help fight and prevent cancer, Virginia looks pretty bad.
Take tobacco policies, for example. Virginia has the second lowest, higher only than Missouri, cigarette tax of any state. At 30 cents a pack, it pales in comparison to the $2 a pack in Maryland, $2.50 in Washington, D.C., and $3.025 in Washington state. One reason higher cigarette taxes are important, health advocate say: For every 10 percent increase in the retail price of a pack of cigarettes, youth smoking rates drop by 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption declines by 4 percent.
Another area Virginia gets low marks: smoke-free indoor air laws. While about half of states have laws that ban smoking in non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants and bars, and in other states lots of counties and cities have those laws, Virginia has none. And the state spends only about 8 percent of what federal health officials say it should on helping people quit smoking and preventing more from taking up the habit.
Check out “How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Leglislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality” at http://www.acscan.org/content/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/HDYMU-2013.pdf