American Cancer Society gives New Jersey mixed reviews on treatment, prevention

Smokers who violate New Jersey bans on lighting up in a public place are now subject to criminal prosecution. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo)

Smokers who violate New Jersey bans on lighting up in a public place are now subject to criminal prosecution. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo)

In its annual review of state policies to prevent cancer and improve access to treatment, the American Cancer Society has given New Jersey mixed reviews.

The state earned good marks for enacting smoke-free laws and increased access to Medicaid, said Marc Kaplan with the ACS cancer action network.

“A lot of people suffering with cancer are in the disadvantaged area, so Medicaid is getting them the care that they deserve and that they need,” he said.

And the $7 million included in New Jersey’s state budget for tobacco-cessation programs is a step in the right direction, he said.

“We certainly would be seeking more because people really need help to quit smoking,” Kaplan said. “And people really need help not starting, and that’s what this program does.”

But the ACS would like to see the state extend its ban on using tanning salons to 18-year-olds to help reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

“A lot of the younger people, they tell each other how great it is. This is just a terrible way to think that you’re making yourself look better,” he said. “Just one year will get a lot more people protected.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.