Proposition 29: Behind the Smoke and Mirrors

By: Heather Martin


 Vote Yes June 5th, 2012!

Anyone watching television recently has seen the wave of advertising both for and against Proposition 29. The most basic explanation of what it actually is: Proposition 29, the California Cancer Research Act, a ballot initiative that voters of our state have a chance to pass on June 5th. Through a $1 per-pack tax increase on cigarettes, Prop 29 – if passed - will deliver over $700 million every year for cancer research and to keep kids from smoking. So, why the confusion?


Katherine V. Row, the Director of Corporate Communications for the American Cancer Society, Los Angeles Region states that “Big Tobacco is outspending us in an effort to maintain its bottom line. . contributing a total of $42 million to its campaign against Prop 29, while the American Cancer Society campaign is hovering around $8 million (including funding from a variety of sources such as Lance Armstrong). You have probably seen the tobacco industry ads . . . Talking heads claiming that ‘our’ tax dollars will go out of state, whereas in reality ‘our’ tax dollars fund millions in health care costs for smoking-related illnesses, while Prop 29 taxes only tobacco users.”


According to ABC local news “the tobacco tax would raise an estimated $735 million a year. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says more than 80 percent of the money would directly fund cancer research and prevention programs.”**


The anti-Proposition 29 advertising campaign has opposed this ballot initiative stating it is a tax increase on Californians that does not solve the budget crisis, however, this initiative is solely a tax on tobacco users that will fund cancer research. California has a long way to go to solve the budget crisis, but Proposition 29 does not hinder this effort. If passed, it will contribute to an increase in cancer research funding, related jobs, valuable healthcare research and would be a deterrent against smoking.


As California voters, we have the opportunity to support this legislation on June 5th and show that our voices ARE stronger than a campaign with $42 million in backing. This is a behavior based tax that only affects smokers through a $1 per pack tax increase. In return, we get the benefit of increased funding for cancer research and the benefits to smoking related illnesses nationwide.


We can pass Proposition 29! Whether or not you are a smoker, a mere $1 dollar increase per pack of cigarettes leads to increased research to heal and cure smoking related illnesses, and it contributes to the economy. It is estimated that the public health benefits include a 13.7% decrease in youth smoking as well as an estimated $5.1 billion long term health savings in our state!*** We cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by. Vote Y.E.S. on Proposition 29 on June 5th!


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