A new report from the state chapter of the American Cancer Society gives Iowa failing grades in several categories. Sandra Quilty, the group’s government relations liaison, says Iowa is spending far too little money to help people quit smoking or to encourage them never to start. The state provides five-million dollars in cessation funding which is far below the minimum of 19-million dollars, which is recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control. Quilty says Iowa is also lacking in the area of excise taxes on cigarettes. The state charges smokers a tax of 39-cents per pack, while the national average is 79-cents.The last cigarette tax increase was in 1991 which took Iowa to the highest tax. Now, we’re at the bottom. Iowa also provides no coverage to Medicaid beneficiaries for smoking cessation therapy — something else the report criticizes. Quilty says the report also faults Iowa for not assuring insurance companies will pay for people to have colon cancer screenings, as it does for breast cancer.This year, the American Cancer Society estimates 15-thousand-940 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer and another 65-hundred-70 will die from it. For more information, call 800-ACS-2345 or surf to “www.cancer.org”.
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