Biden will take aim at smoking in his State of the Union speech as part of his 'cancer moonshot'
- Biden will announce plans to accelerate progress in lowering cancer deaths.
- That includes the biggest, preventable driver of them: smoking.
During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden will kindly thank you for not smoking.
Biden will announce plans tonight to accelerate progress in the fight against cancer deaths, and that includes fighting the biggest, preventable driver: smoking.
"We're going to continue to focus on prevention," Danielle Carnival, the White House "Cancer Moonshot" coordinator, told reporters during a Tuesday morning call. "We're committed to continuing to use authorities and programs to keep making progress, and especially with a focus on helping individuals avoid smoking in the first place and supporting Americans who want to quit."
The focus comes as some conservatives decry a so-called "war on cigarettes" as an infringement on personal liberties and oppose certain tobacco-control measures. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has claimed, without evidence, that nicotine "frees your mind" while venting about the Food and Drug Administration's proposed ban on menthol cigarettes last year.
—Acyn (@Acyn) January 21, 2023
Polling shows that most US adults support ending the sale of tobacco products and two thirds support banning the sale of menthol cigarettes, which make smoking more addictive and appealing to young people.
Biden's family has had personal experience with cancer. He launched his "Cancer Moonshot" program while serving as vice president after losing his son Beau to a brain tumor in 2015. In January, First Lady Jill Biden had two cancerous growths removed. Biden renewed the moonshot program last year with the goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.
Carnival said Biden is focused on the progress over the last 30 years in reducing adult and youth smoking rates which have contributed to cutting cancer death rates.
The administration is preparing further action to help people avoid smoking and support Americans who want to quit — steps they project could prevent as much as 30 percent of cancer deaths in the US, according to the White House.
Also as part of his plan to tackle cancer, Biden will call on Congress to reauthorize the National Cancer Act to update cancer research and care systems and the administration will take steps to ensure patient navigation services are covered benefits.
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