May 16, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Bullet point summary of Prop 29 and the campaign to date

·         Prop 29 would increase the tobacco tax by $1 a pack of cigarettes with corresponding increases for other tobacco products.
·         The money would go to reinvigorate California’s anti-smoking campaign (about 23 cents), cancer and other medical research (about 70 cents, including some money for facilities), about 3 cents for law enforcement of tobacco control laws, 2 cents for administration.
·         The biggest effect would be to create a dramatic drop in smoking, putting California within reach of realizing former Surgeon General Koop’s vision of a smokefree society.
·         The research money would be managed by a committee consisting of the UCSF, UCB, and UCSC chancellors, cancer center directors and other experts and stakeholders, which grants made on an NIH model to California institutions.
·         Our analysis estimates that, absent 29 passing, smoking will start in increase in the next 5 years in California.  The reason for this is that the state’s current anti-smoking program, funded by a 5 cent cigarette tax passed by the voters in 1988, is running out of steam because inflation has seriously eroded the purchasing power of that 5 cents.
·         On the other hand, if 29 passes, the combination of the price increase and reinvigorated anti-smoking program will drop prevalence from the 2010 value of 11.9% to 8.4% (with drops in consumption among continuing smokers).
·         This decline in smoking will cost Philip Morris, Reynolds and other out-of-state tobacco interests about $1 billion a year in lost sales, which is why they are so aggressively fighting Prop 29.
·         To date tobacco interests have put $40 million into the No campaign, more than any other campaign or PAC to date except Romney’s SuperPAC.  My guess is that the tobacco companies will double that by the time of the election.
·         The biggest supporter of the Yes campaign is the American Cancer Society (about $4 million) followed by Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation (about $1.5 million).  The American Heart Association and American Lung Association are also vigorously supporting the campaign.
·         The tobacco companies know that the more the public sees them as behind the No campaign, the more likely the public will be to vote Yes.  That is why no tobacco companies are listed on the “No on 29” “About Us” page -- http://www.noon29.com/about-us.  (The groups listed there are a who’s who of industry fronts and organizations that have taken money and carried water for Big Tobacco for years.)
·         In addition to cutting smoking and funding research, 29 will have a huge positive impact on the state economy because 80% of that $1 billion not spent on cigarettes that current leaves the state to go back east to Philip Morris, Reynolds and their friends will stay in California, generating about $2 billion in economic activity and about 12,000 jobs.
 
·         The tobacco companies’ main arguments against 29 are that the money will leave the state, that we don’t need more cancer research and anti-smoking programs, and that there will be a big bureaucracy.   The truth is that Prop 29 makes it very clear that this is for tobacco control and cancer and medical research in California.  The state has also proven that it knows how to run an effective tobacco control program as well as the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program, which runs on the same model as specified in Prop 29. 
 
·         The YES campaign web site is http://californiansforacure.org.  The biggest thing that they need is word of mouth support and money.  People have already started voting absentee, so getting the word out is important to countering all the tobacco industry propaganda. 
·         The NO campaign web site is http://noon29.com.  They don’t need anything because they have all the money they need and are willing to say anything to try and generate “no” votes.
 

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