Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

June 6, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Right now (as of 4:43 am June 7), the Secretary of State shows the Philip Morris and Reynolds leading on Prop 29, with 50.7% no vs. 49.2% yes on Prop 29.  The spread is very small, only 63,176 votes out of a total of 3.85 million votes counted so far.

There are a large number of uncounted absentee ballots -- I have seen estimates ranging up to 1 million -- which means that the Secretary of State has declared the race a "close contest," meaning that the result will not be certified until all the ballots are counted.

The ultimate outcome will depend entirely on where the uncounted ballots are, since there were huge differences in how the vote went in different counties.  For example, 64.3% voted "yes" in Santa Clara County (where reporters have told me there are a large number of uncounted ballots) whereas only 33.6% voted "yes" in Kern County. 

There is also the question of whether or not the absentee voters voted the same way as the precinct voters.  On one hand, absentee voters tend to be more conservative than precinct voters.  On the other hand absentee voters may have voted earlier than precinct voters, in which case they would not have been as influenced by Philip Morris and Reynolds' deceptive ad campaign.

At this point, it is impossible to make a reliable prediction of the final outcome. 

June 2, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Check it out here.

This is my favorite part of their story:

'If you have any doubt that these type of relationships are part of a larger, deliberate public strategy, look no further than a 1998 proposal from a Sacramento political consulting group to The Tobacco Institute during the debate over another cigarette tax referendum.

"Dated February 13, 1998, on page 1, the proposal states, 'The tobacco industry is currently losing the public relations war with the general public.' It continues, 'Understanding the above, the only way to defeat any of the hostile tax increase measures currently in circulation for the November ballot in California, is to build a coalition of groups more favorable to the public without the fingerprints of tobacco on it.'”  Click here to read the proposal.

This story also shows how journalists can use the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library to inform current issues.


June 1, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The respected nonpartisan Field Poll shows Proposition 29 winning 50% to 42%. 

The poll was conducted May 21-29; I believe the Yes advertising was on the air statewide for about the last half of this time.  Philip Morris and Reynolds American's saturation advertising had been on the air for several weeks by then.  The fact that Prop 29 is winning despite the cigarette companies' ad blitz is encouraging, but there is no question that the No ad campaign has (not surprisingly) eroded Prop 29's original lead. Experience with tobacco tax initiatives around the country suggests that the fact that Prop 29 started with a 67 percent "yes" vote before the "no" ad blitz started that this lead will be big enough for Prop 29 to withstand the cigarette companies' onslaught and still pass.

A poll released a few days ago from the LA Times and USC also showed Prop 29 winning.

To put this poll in historical context in California, the Field Poll noted:

May 30, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

From the LA Times:

A proposed $1-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes remains highly popular among California voters, but they are split over whether to change the state’s 22-year-old term limits law, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

The two measures will appear on Tuesday's statewide primary ballot.

The tobacco tax, which will be before voters as Proposition 29 on the June ballot, is backed by 62% of state voters, while just 33% say they oppose the initiative.  If passed, the measure would increase levies on other tobacco products in addition to the $1 increase on cigarettes.

The money generated, about $850 million per year, according to the state Legislative Analyst's Office, would pay for more cancer research and help law enforcement fight illegal cigarette sales.

The strong support comes despite a $40-million campaign by tobacco companies, which have run ads criticizing the measure for creating a new state bureaucracy and the fact that it would do nothing to help close California's estimated $15.7-billion budget deficit.

May 30, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We just published “Tobacco Control Legislation in Costa Rica (1971-2012): After 40 Years of Tobacco Industry Dominance, Tobacco Control Advocacy Succeeds.”  The full report is available at free at


Between 1971 and 1985, Philip Morris International (PMI), through its subsidiary Tabacalera Costarricense (TC), and British American Tobacco (BAT), through its subsidiary Republic Tobacco Company (RTC), successfully blocked several laws to restrict tobacco advertising and supported weak industry‐inspired executive decrees, resulting in minimal advances for tobacco advertising restrictions.

During the mid‐to‐late 1980s and early 1990s, the Ministry of Health capitalized on the public’s increased awareness of secondhand smoke (SHS) and issued nine advanced (for their time) smoking restriction decrees between 1986 and 1989, as well as assisted other Costa Rican health institutions to introduce Costa Rica’s first bill to prohibit smoking in workplaces and public places and eliminate tobacco advertising in 1992.