President Joe Biden will single out smokers in his State of the Union speech, discussing the harms of smoking as the single largest driver of cancer deaths.
The speech will preview actions the administration is planning to take to help people avoid smoking altogether, especially young people, and support those that want to quit smoking as part of Biden’s revived Cancer Moonshot goals to cut the death rate from cancer by 50% over the next 25 years.
“These steps could prevent as much as 30 percent of cancer deaths in this country, saving up to 130,000 American lives, annually,” the administration wrote in a fact sheet ahead of Biden’s speech. “While we have made progress, tobacco products still hook too many young people at an early age and take control away from individual Americans to make the decision not to smoke.”
The administration did not elaborate on what steps they plan to take. Danielle Carnival, Biden’s Cancer Moonshot coordinator, said that he will outline the connection between the decrease in smoking rates to a reduction in cancer death rates over the last 30 years.
“We’re committed to continuing to use authorities and programs to keep making progress and especially with a focus on helping individuals avoid smoking in the first place and supporting Americans who want to quit,” Carnival told reporters Tuesday.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer and cancer deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly three in 10 cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking.
Last year, the Biden administration proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as research suggests that menthol cigarettes are more commonly used by young adults. The proposal could be finalized as early as this year, though it would likely take several more years to implement.
Biden will also push Congress to reauthorize the decades-old National Cancer Act to modernize the country’s cancer research and care systems, along with re-upping requests for additional investments toward cancer research. Cancer Moonshot, which was first launched back in 2016 when Biden was vice president, was reignited last year to accelerate progress to “end cancer as we know it today.” The mission has been a personal endeavor for Biden, whose son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
Abigail Adcox – Washington Examiner – 2023-02-07.