Study Ranks Missouri as Worst State for Combating Lung Cancer

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In the following TV interview transcript, Dr. Jim Blaine is quoted as saying:

“Lung cancer, by the time we detect it, it’s usually too late.”

That was certainly the case for my older sister and only sibling, Lilian. By the time she saw a specialist complaining of a persistent cough she thought was bronchitis she got the diagnosis that it was incurable, inoperable lung cancer. She died six months later, on November 11th, 1988.

I believe the survival rate for lung cancer is only about 10% because by the time it’s detected it has usually spread to the lymph nodes and elsewhere in the body.

KOLR 10 TV, Springfield, MO, at
The following was a report on the above story, posted on-line 11/16/2014 06:21 PM:

This link to an interactive map on Wallethub shows the best and the worst states for combatting lung cancer, based on tobacco tax level, with Missouri being the worst:


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A new study from WalletHub ranks Missouri as the worst state in the country for combating the high cost of lung cancer.

 Jim Blaine, MD

Jim Blaine, MD

Missouri finished 51st overall, behind the 49 other states and Washington D.C. Wallethub, a social networking site dedicated to personal finance topics, pored over data from the U.S. Census Bureau, CDC and American Cancer Society to put together the rankings.
         KOLR10 spoke Sunday with Jim Blaine, a Springfield doctor who has worked on past campaigns to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax. Blaine said there are a lot of users in Missouri and few incentives for them to quit.
         “My reaction is I’m not surprised at all and yes we absolutely deserve that ranking,” Blaine said. “Missouri has as you know the lowest tobacco tax in the nation at 17 cents and even at that, we spend virtually nothing on prevention.”
         Wallethub ranks Missouri at 34th in the number of adult users, 44th when it comes to the death rate from lung cancer, 48th in the price of a cigarette pack and 45th in the estimate of new lung cancer cases per capita.
         Lung cancer has a low survival rate of 16.6 percent and Blaine said it is hard to reverse that trend.
         “Lung cancer, by the time we detect it, it’s usually too late,” Blaine said.
         Blaine said the cure for lung cancer is simple, get people to stop smoking. However, Blaine said it is possible people are not getting the message. Wallethub ranks Missouri at 39th in the percentage of people trying to quit.
         Missouri generated $184 million in tobacco revenue last year and only spent about $76,000 on tobacco prevention, much lower than the CDC’s $73 million recommendation.
         Blaine said if the state got the word out and raised cigarette taxes, the trends could be reversed.
         “You know actually just raising the price. Every 10 percent increase in the cost of cigarettes you get a 7 percent decrease in the user rate,” Blaine said.
         Missouri voters have voted down efforts to increase the state’s tobacco tax three times — the last was on the 2012 ballot. The 2012 proposal would have raised anywhere from $283-423 million a year for the state and 20 percent of the revenue would have gone to tobacco prevention efforts.

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