Indiana Policymakers Fall Short In Cancer Prevention, New Report Says

Aug 5, 2019

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released a report Thursday on what states have done to reduce cancer deaths – and organization leaders say Indiana lawmakers have largely fallen short.

The report looks at a range of subject issues including underage access to tanning beds, cigarette taxes, screening for several different types of cancer and Medicaid access. 

  • The 2019 final legislative budget did not contain $300,000 to fund colorectal cancer screening programs. 
  • Tobacco tax rates fall below the national average. 
  • Indiana funds less than the CDC-recommended amount towards tobacco control – or helping people quit using tobacco products and keeping people from starting. 
  • Indiana allows people under the age of 18 – with parental consent – to use tanning beds.

American Cancer Society’s Bryan Hannon says Indiana falls short in five of the report’s eight categories. He hopes the new report will spark conversation at the statehouse on how to address Indiana’s high cancer and smoking rates. 

“Unfortunately, this report is a bit of déjà vu for us here in Indiana. We’ve had a few years running where we’ve not made progress on important health policy proposals,” Hannon says. “By perpetuating inaction, by ignoring these issues, they’re not getting better.”

There is some promising news in Indiana. Starting Aug. 1, the state will allow Hoosiers to get tobacco cessation medications straight from a pharmacist.