September 11, 2020
The Prevent Cancer Foundation hosted its annual Advocacy Workshop on Wednesday with a focus on genetics and cancer prevention. If you attended the virtual Workshop, we sincerely apologize for any disruptions you experienced. Unfortunately, we had several technical issues occur during the welcome sessions, but we will share updated recordings without the technical glitches as soon as possible.
The afternoon was full of great conversations about genetic testing and its role in helping identify hereditary conditions and their associated cancers, as well as providing tumor testing to develop targeted treatments for patients. Access barriers to testing were a recurrent theme throughout the event. To address those barriers, attendees joined breakout sessions to discuss potential solutions and shared reports back with the entire group.
We’d like to thank the organizations that participated and made an exciting event: FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, LUNGevity, the Kamie K. Preston Hereditary Cancer Foundation, Innovative Policy Solutions, LLC, and Guardant Health.
Be on the lookout over the next few days for an executive summary, recordings of all the presentations and breakout conversations and supplemental materials on to the Foundation’s website.
The results of the 2020 Youth Tobacco Survey were released this week, showing several trends in smoking behavior among youth. In some good news, smoking among high school students dropped significantly between 2019 and 2020 from a record 27.5% to 20.6%.
Though the large decrease is promising, it falls short of the numbers needed to combat the rising trend caused by e-cigarettes starting in 2017, when only 11.7% of high schoolers reported smoking compared to the current 20.6%. Flavored products are playing a significant role in smoking behaviors. As more restrictions have come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and executive orders from the president to limit the availability of some flavored products, menthol flavors were exempted, giving kids more options. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports almost a 50% increase in menthol use in pre-filled pods and cartridges and a 25% increase in disposable products between 2019 and 2020.
Disposable e-cigarette use has risen drastically, with a 1,000% and 400% increase in high schoolers and middle schoolers, respectively.
In a joint statement from Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Robin Koval, CEO and President, Truth Initiative; and Dr. Kelly Henning, Program Lead, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Public Health, they said, “These results demonstrate that the administration missed the opportunity to make far greater progress when it broke its promise to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes. They also show that the progress to date is fragile and can quickly be reversed unless the FDA acts now to eliminate all flavored e-cigarettes, including the menthol products and cheap, disposable e-cigarettes to which kids have rapidly migrated. The evidence couldn’t be clearer: As long as any flavored e-cigarettes are left on the market, kids will get their hands on them and we will not solve this public health crisis.”
The results of the survey provide overwhelming evidence that the administration needs to take additional action to ban flavored products and turn the tide of the continuing vaping epidemic. The Prevent Cancer Foundation joins our fellow advocacy organizations in asking the administration to remove flavored tobacco products from the market. Together, we can Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®
The House and Senate have had setbacks in developing a relief package to help Americans struggling during the pandemic. Though both chambers have been debating what should be included, negotiations have stalled.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had been meeting regularly over the past couple of weeks to revive a package in the House. They were unable to reach a compromise, making it unclear if there will be another package in the near future.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to revive another bill, but faced an uphill battle with his own party. Republicans have been divided on whether to vote for another package or hold off until they see the effects of previous packages. To get Republicans on the same page, Leader McConnell proposed a bill, which would provide an additional $500 billion in funding for unemployment benefits, another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and an increase in COVID-19 testing resources. After a floor vote on Thursday, the bill was defeated by a vote of 52-47.
With Congress unable to move forward, it is unlikely another package will pass before the election in November. This is a developing story, and we will provide updates as they happen.