ALABAMA - When it comes to preventing cancer - legislation has an important role to play, According to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network. A new report from the organization shows that Alabama has some room for improvement.
The 'How Do You Measure Up' report takes a look at state legislative activity to reduce cancer incidents and mortality.
"There are about 8 different areas in Alabama and Alabama is doing well in one and in about 5 is in the absolute lowest level," said Sarah Domm, Cancer Action Network's Alabama Grassroots Manager
The report suggests Alabama should increase Medicaid eligibility and access to cancer screenings, as well as strengthen tobacco and sunless tanning regulations.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Alabama according to the Centers for Disease Control. And the Alabama Department of Public Health says lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
Alabama is among states with the weakest tobacco legislation and the Cancer Action Network is focused on changing those laws. The organization has been working for a decade to create a state-wide smoking ban at workplaces.
"It's a big law and these things just take a lot of time," Domm said.
There have been some roadblocks.
"We have legislators that are supportive and others that don't see it as much of a priority," she said.
So the Cancer Action Network is working on a grass-roots effort to grow support for that goal.
"Different cities, creating our own ordinances rather than just having a whole statewide law," she said.
The current state excise tax on cigarettes is about 67 cents. The organization hopes raising it could decrease the number of people who start smoking.
"By making it more of a financial choice they are less likely to start or continue," she explained.
To view the full report head to the Cancer Action Network's website.