About 100 volunteers for Iowa’s many chapters of the American Cancer Society are in Des Moines today, getting a crash course on how to lobby legislators. Teresa Harms, the Society’s state advocacy director, says today’s training workshop is a big help to the volunteers.Harms says the volunteers will be trying to convince state lawmakers to support a variety of cancer-related causes. One of them is the “Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act” into which she says the state needs to invest 225-thousand dollars in order to get a much larger federal match.Harms says those lower-income women now often have to rely on charity to pay their medical bills. Harms says Iowa is doing too little to attack tobacco. She says five thousand Iowans die every year from tobacco-related diseases. State officials are only targeting pregnant women and teenagers with educational messages, which Harms says is not enough.Harms hopes to convince legislators to spend at least 20-point-five MILLION dollars from the tobacco settlement money on a comprehensive program to reduce tobacco use. She says that’s a small price to pay for the huge cost of lives lost and money spent on health care for tobacco-related diseases.
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