‘Cancer Moonshot’, which was originally unveiled back in 2016 when Biden was Vice President, has been issued a new lease of life following reignited White House leadership.
According to The White House website, the core goal is to: “Reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.
“Improving the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer…by doing this and more, it could end cancer as we know it today.”
An additional $240 million has made its way into the money pot to aid in executing this, with the hopes of finding new ways to prevent, detect, treat and ultimately survive cancer.
One of the latest areas for concern is tobacco-related illnesses and deaths, which will be targeted in a number of ways according to an updated proposal:
- New investments to reduce the impact of menthol and other flavoured commercial tobacco products in communities that experience health disparities.
- An updated plan to decrease the impact of smoking on Americans’ health by expanding efforts to prevent smoking and to support everyone who wants to quit.
- A pilot program to increase veteran engagement in tobacco use treatment.
- New resources and actions to reduce exposures to environmental carcinogens.
It also lays out plans of CVS Health ‘launching an expanded smoking cessation program in a dozen states’, which would involve assessment, prescribing and counselling at their retail pharmacies.
In response to Cancer Moonshot’s recent plan of action, The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) says it ‘misses the mark’ in prioritising tobacco harm reduction as a way to support public health concerns.
Whilst all is well and good in addressing such a prolific matter, the WVA believes that the Biden Administration should join countries such as Sweden in implementing a more ‘inclusive’ strategy.
The WVA said:
“The President’s Cancer Moonshot initiative aims to reduce smoking rates, but the WVA argues that it could be far more effective by embracing less harmful alternatives to smoking, such as vaping.”
According to Smoke Free Sweden, ‘over the past 15 years, Sweden has slashed its smoking rates from 15 percent in 2008 to 5.6 percent today… whilst the EU average remains at 23 percent.’
Despite America now reporting an all-time low adult smoking rate of 11 percent, fears circulating harm reduction products such as e-cigs could negatively impact the number of those ditching deadly cigarettes.
The Biden Administration has also outlined interests of investing $15 million in smoking cessation programs targeting menthol and flavoured tobacco use.
Michael Landl, Director of the WVA, in response said:
“While these funds aim to reduce smoking among marginalized groups, their impact would be more significant if it included harm-reducing alternatives.
“If President Biden is serious about beating cancer, then embracing tobacco harm reduction is not just an option, it’s a necessity.
“Sweden and the United Kingdom are leading examples that have proven the effectiveness of vaping and other less harmful products in reducing smoking rates.
“To achieve the desired outcomes in cutting cancer-related deaths, it’s imperative that the United States foster a comprehensive harm reduction strategy that acknowledges vaping’s potential to save lives.”
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