Cancer patients and survivors across Idaho convened at the Statehouse last Monday for the annual “Cancer Day at the Capitol,” hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

The group urged lawmakers to pass legislation to fight cancer—the No. 1 cause of death in Idaho. An estimated 8,100 Idahoans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and 2,900 will die from it.

The top priority is to raise the sales age for all tobacco products including electronic cigarettes in Idaho to 21. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Tobacco 21 Idaho coalition are working with State Senator Fred Martin, who will re-introduce a tobacco 21 bill this session. 

One of the best ways to prevent cancer in Idaho is by fighting tobacco use. Each year, 700 kids in Idaho become new daily smokers, and at current rates, 30,000 Idaho kids alive today will eventually die from smoking. 

“The best way to keep kids from becoming addicted to tobacco products is to prevent them from starting. Raising the tobacco age will help keep these deadly products out of high schools, where it’s easy for young teens to get them from older peers,” said Luke Cavener, ACS CAN Idaho government relations director. “We know 95 percent of smokers start before age 21, and if they don’t start by that age, they likely never will.” 

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Idaho, and it’s responsible for roughly 27 percent of cancer deaths in the state. 

The group also urged lawmakers to increase access to care and treatments for cancer patients by ensuring new oral chemotherapy medications are as accessible and affordable as traditional chemotherapy drugs administered by IV.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit