Rep. Paul Harris receives national award in recognition of his dedication to championing tobacco control legislation

Harris led the five-year effort to raise the legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 in Washington and help prevent youth from initiating tobacco use

Washington Rep. Paul Harris received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award this week, the most prestigious award presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of his dedication to championing tobacco control legislation to protect future generations from the dangers of tobacco use.

Rep. Paul Harris (17th District) is shown here at a Legislative Town Hall held earlier this year. Harris received a National Distinguished Advocacy Award for championing lifesaving cancer public policy. Photo by Mike Schultz
Rep. Paul Harris (17th District) is shown here at a Legislative Town Hall held earlier this year. Harris received a National Distinguished Advocacy Award for championing lifesaving cancer public policy. Photo by Mike Schultz

ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy.

“Rep. Harris has been instrumental in implementing strong, effective tobacco control policies that protect Washington youth from the dangers of tobacco,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “It is thanks to his leadership that Washington continues to make significant strides in reducing the burden of cancer.”

From 2014 to 2016, Rep. Harris led efforts in Washington to regulate e-cigarettes and ensure the revenue from e-cigarette retailers’ license fees directly funded the state’s tobacco control and prevention program. Most recently, Rep. Harris led the five-year effort to raise the legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 in Washington and help prevent youth from initiating tobacco use.

“As a cancer survivor himself, Rep. Harris knows firsthand the importance of making cancer a legislative priority” said Gail Lund, state lead ambassador for ACS CAN Washington and Tacoma resident. “We’re grateful to have Rep. Harris as our ally in the fight against cancer and for his dedication to garnering bipartisan support for our priority legislative efforts.”

The award was announced on Sept. 11 at ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., as nearly 700 volunteers and staff from across the country convened to ask Congress to support policies that increase cancer research funding, improve patient quality of life, make colorectal cancer screenings more affordable for seniors and restrict flavors in tobacco products.

Rep. Harris will be presented with his award at the ACS CAN Washington State Policy Luncheon on Fri., Sept. 27. 

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