Today’s Cancer Moonshot Forum on… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Today’s Cancer Moonshot Forum on Smoking Cessation Highlights Biden Administration’s Commitment to Driving Down Smoking – The Biggest Cause of Cancer Deaths in the U.S.

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
June 01, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House Cancer Moonshot today is hosting a forum on equitably expanding access to effective smoking cessation support, convening leaders and experts from across the nation to address this key component of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot aimed at reducing the U.S. cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years.

This forum underscores the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to reducing smoking – including by equitably expanding access to smoking cessation treatments – and its recognition that this is critical to achieving the goals of the Cancer Moonshot. As the White House has stated, smoking is “the biggest single driver of cancer deaths in this country.” Smoking causes 30% of all cancer deaths and over 80% of deaths from lung cancer, the leading cancer killer. No single action would have a greater impact in saving lives from cancer – and reducing cancer-related disparities – than to reduce the number of people who ever start to smoke, especially kids, and help more smokers quit.

We applaud President Biden and his Administration for their leadership in advancing bold initiatives to drive down smoking. In addition to the Administration’s efforts to expand smoking cessation, the FDA is finalizing rules to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars and has indicated it will propose regulations to limit nicotine levels in cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels. These are game-changing proposals that would accelerate declines in smoking and save countless lives from cancer and other tobacco-related diseases. By implementing these policies, President Biden and his Administration will go a long way toward achieving the goals of the Cancer Moonshot and leave a legacy of better health for generations.

As part of this effort, we need a comprehensive strategy across government and the private sector to ensure all smokers get the support and treatment they need to quit, especially among high-risk populations. This strategy should include providing barrier-free coverage for tobacco cessation treatments under Medicaid and private health plans; expanding public education campaigns to encourage tobacco cessation and increase awareness and use of cessation services; increasing support for state and local health departments and state quitlines to enhance their capacity to provide cessation treatment services; and regulatory reforms by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CEDR) to encourage and speed up the development of effective cessation treatments.

We look forward to participating in today’s forum and to working with the Administration to advance its critical initiatives to reduce tobacco use. Our nation cannot win the fight against cancer without winning the fight against tobacco.