Public health gains polls in California and South Dakota

On Tuesday, November 7, California voters passed Proposition 31 to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, and South Dakoto residents passed Amendment D to improve access to Medicaid for more than 42,000 people. In South Dakota, voters passed Amendment D, which amends the state constitution to extend Medicaid eligibility to lower-income adults. In California, voters approved the 2020 law that will reduce tobacco use and health inequalities caused by the tobacco industry’s targeting of black communities.

The following is a statement from Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

“Voters in South Dakota and California on Tuesday made it clear that public health is a priority in their states. By enacting measures to improve access to health care through Medicaid and reduce tobacco product deaths by ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, a critical tool the industry is using to reach new generations, voters have made their commitment for the ending of cancer as we know it, signals for everyone.

“The vote of South Dakotans to leave their state by the 39thth State to increase access to Medicaid is a major public health victory and will improve the lives of many cancer patients, survivors and their families as they gain access to life-saving health insurance coverage. ACS research repeatedly demonstrates the importance of access to health care in reducing health disparities and improving cancer outcomes. ACS CAN volunteers and staff worked tirelessly to educate the public about the importance of increasing access to health insurance for more neighbors, family and friends.

“ACS CAN will continue to work with South Dakota legislators to ensure this initiative goes into effect on July 2, 2023 and to facilitate Medicaid expansion in the 11 other states that have refused to implement this life-saving public health amendment To push order, to push forcefully.

“In California, voters passed Proposition 31, which endorses a statewide law banning the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. ACS CAN was integral to the passage of the 2020 law aimed at reducing youth tobacco use and the tobacco industry’s targeting of black communities, who consistently report the highest prevalence of menthol cigarette use. ACS investigations showed that the Massachusetts law ending sales of menthol cigarettes cut all cigarette sales in the state. Knowing how effective this law would be, the tobacco industry put Prop 31 to a vote to delay implementation. But Californians have put public health ahead of the tobacco industry, a move that will have a major impact on the number of future tobacco-related diseases, including cancer. We look forward to ensuring that the statewide law passed in 2020 is put into effect immediately.”

Tuesday’s midterm elections also welcomed a new Congress and many new governors and state legislators across the country, each ready to become partners in continuing our work to reduce suffering and death from cancer.

This press release was originally published by the on November 9, 2022 American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. It is republished with permission.