Tobacco Industry Ads Oppose Proposed California Cigarette Tax to Fund Cancer Research

The tobacco industry is funding ads opposing California’s proposed tax on cigarettes to raise money for cancer research.

Proposition 29 would add $1 per pack of cigarettes, the Los Angeles Times reports. California will vote on the measure June 5. The tobacco industry ads note the tax would raise money for research, but not for treatment.

Proponents of the tax say it is expected to raise more than $800 million for research on tobacco-related diseases and prevention programs. They estimate the tax raise will prevent 220,000 young people from starting to smoke, and encourage 100,000 smokers to quit.

So far, Philip Morris USA and RJ Reynolds Tobacco, two of the nation’s biggest tobacco companies, and their affiliates, have spent more than $30 million against the proposal. In addition to criticizing it for not including funds for treatment, they have attacked the initiative for allowing the proceeds of the tax to be used out of state.

Supporters of the measure have raised $4 million, the article notes. One backer of the proposal is seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, whose Livestrong Foundation contributed $1.5 million to the campaign. Other supporters include the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

The proposal calls for 60 percent of the money raised to be used to support research on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and potential cures for tobacco-related diseases. An additional 15 percent would be used to build or lease facilities, or to be spent on equipment, while 20 percent would be used for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The remaining 5 percent would be used for law enforcement programs to reduce illegal sales to minors and smuggling, and administrative costs.

    User Picture


    July 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Amid reports of suecscs, I am concerned that a problem not be overlooked: historically increased revenues from tobacco taxes create an incentive for the government, or its members, to protect and service the cigarette companies in various ways as a reward for that tax revenue which the government has grown dependent on (almost as much as the addict on the nicotine). One such protection is to invest more revenue in law enforcement against cannabis users, which benefits the tobacco cigarette oligopoly in two main ways: (1) it deters some citizens from using cannabis as a means to help quit tobacco; (2) it deters most citizens from possessing and using dosage reduction utensils (one-hitters, vaporizers) for fear of being observed and accused of a connection with illegal cannabis. This latter deterrence strategy blocks masses of tobacco users, without having to quit tobacco, from shifting from the high-profit 700-mg-every-time-you-want-a-smoke cigarette format to a 25-mg-per serving one-hitter or other dosage-restriction method which would soon (I say deservedly) bankrupt the cigarette companies and also abruptly reduce that WHO-estimated 6,000,000-per-year death toll.

    User Picture


    July 15, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Whether cigarettes denepd on brand packaging or not, the tobacco companies clearly think so, which makes their level of weasel words and doublespeak even more disingenuous than usual. Funny how they’re willing to spend so much money and champion small businesses even though the thing they’re fighting against doesn’t work. It’s not the current smokers they want, anyway they know that once a smoker decides on a brand, they pretty much stick to it forever but the new smoker, who hopefully will be seduced by the bright and attractive and/or cool packaging that appeals to them. Are you a Virginia Slims come a long way, baby! smoker, or a Marlboro Man ? Big Tobacco wants new lungs, and how are they going to get them if the package doesn’t proclaim a smoker’s allegiance to Kool?(note: I cannot ever spell allegiance right the first time.)

    User Picture

    Tom Colthurst

    May 14, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    T-industry sending out tons of mailers, obfuscating the issue, e.g., research to be supported might be out-of-state even if that’s where the best science can be performed. LA Times, regrettably, has editorialized a “NO” vote since measure would create a new oversight board and divert tax new revenue from general fund. That’s a valid objection, but I’ll still vote “YES” to reduce tobacco initiation and use

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *