North Dakota is in the top 25 percent of states in both new lung cancer cases and lung cancer survival rates.
This according to the first ever "State of Lung Cancer" report done by the American Lung Association of North Dakota. Reba Mathern-Jacobson is director of tobacco control for the Lung Association in North Dakota. She says this report looks at rates of incidents of lung cancer, survival rates, rates of early diagnosis, surgery, and access to screening centers. She says the report helps North Dakota know where it stands.
"The takeaway from this for me is that in North Dakota, we are at the bottom 25 percent in terms of access to screening centers, and we also have work that we can do to reduce the incidents of lung cancer. And the major contributor of developing lung cancer is the use of tobacco. In North Dakota, we have a higher than average smoking rate, so we're working on measures to reduce the use of tobacco in our state."
Mathern-Jacobson says one way to reduce smoking rates is to stop young people from starting it in the first place. She says raising the tax on tobacco could possibly deter them from purchasing cigarettes. North Dakota currently has some of the lowest tobacco tax rates in the country.