Americans don't agree on a lot of things Including taxes, who doesn't like taxes? Everyone hatescancer.

President Joe Biden wants to reduce the cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years, a lofty goal for his Cancer Moonshot program.

Back to taxes. A radical new approach is needed by Biden. A cancer tax is something we want to propose.

The idea has been done before. The federal cigarette tax is one of the things that create health problems. Corporations pay for the harm they cause by taxing cancer.

Prevention is the most neglected part of cancer initiatives. Prevention gets 2% to 3% of all health related spending in the United States. It's important that we stop cancer before it gets a cure.

Prevention isn't anti- cure. It is a one- two punch. The science behind cancer treatment is amazing, but we don't know a lot about why it happens. Genetics, age, and lifestyle are some of the risk factors that can be combined. Environmental factors, including the increase in the number of cancer-causing chemicals we all come in contact with, are part of the equation. Many can and should be prevented, but most people don't know about them.

Ordinary citizens are expected to reduce risk. It should be the responsibility of the companies to clean up their act.

Any company that externalizes carcinogens into the environment as well as those that sell consumer products with undisclosed carcinogens will be subject to a cancer tax. Similar to selling cigarettes, their cancer-causing actions are often legal. The majority of it is out in the open.

There are a lot of companies that sell food and beverages. Here are a few people who owe taxes.

  • Some industrial facilities were identified in a recent ProPublica report. People of color are disproportionately affected by cancer-causing chemicals in the air around them. Chemicals and manufacturing plants are near schools and daycares. It is usually claimed that it is too expensive to fix.

  • A study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center shows that there are high numbers of cancer cases among children who live in areas with high levels of pesticides in the soil. Nebraska has the seventh highest cancer rate among children.

  • 22 women with ovarian cancer won a $4.69 billion lawsuit against J&J for allegedly selling a baby powder containing cancer-causing Asbestos for many years and covering it up. It was pretty classy.

All of them should be taxed by cancer.

It's a small idea that could do a lot of good. Track records show that sin taxes have been successful. The cigarette taxes fund programs that help people stop smoking. Less smoking and less sugar mean less health issues. Common sense says that less carcinogens is a good thing. It makes no sense that a cancer tax isn't in existence. Non-profits often work on cancer prevention. Imagine their impact if they were able to use tax dollars for cancer research.

The consumer awareness and public shame that comes from having to pay-to-harm could be mitigated by a cancer tax. Products with known carcinogens could be stopped. Theogenic ingredients are inexpensive. Corporations use them for that reason. They would be more expensive if a cancer tax was put in place.

50 years ago, President Nixon declared his war on cancer There have been incredible strides made in terms of survivorship, mainly due to improved treatments and earlier detection, but the rate of new cancer is still alarming. We will continue to improve our treatment of cancer. The Cancer Moonshot goals of scientific discovery and data sharing have been lined up for over a billion dollars. We need to prevent cancer from happening in the first place.

There was a time when a first lady fought to get warning labels on music. The decades of carcinogens in air, water, food, and even toothpaste have not elicited the same reaction. Maybe Biden can take on a cancer tax-funded shift to prevention as her pet project as she mourns the death of her son. The Moonshot goals will be achieved if fewer carcinogens are used.

We know that a cancer tax is necessary to end cancer.

  • Jon is the director of Stink!, a documentary about the environment. A recent cancer mom is the author of six environmental health related books. Both of them are board members of Clean and Healthy New York.