March 5, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

At a time California is defunding higher ed and closing parks, a proposal to spend $800 million subsidizing movies

Assemblyman Fuentes has introduced AB 2026 to extend California's $100 million a year giveaway to the big studios for another 8 years. 

Between mid-2009 and 2011, California spent $75 million subsidizing movies including smoking and, so, were promoting smoking to kids.  These films went on to make $1.1 billion at the box office, plus even more money in DVD and video streaming, making one wonder if they really needed the subsidy in the first place.

Even worse, if current patterns continue, movies with smoking subsidized by California taxpayers will account for about 17,000 new 12-17 year old smokers during the next cohort of 12-17 year olds, who will run up an estimated $270 million in smoking-induced costs.  (Details of our analysis are here.) 

The American Heart Association and California Medical Association have taken "oppose unless amended" positions on such subsidy bills.  I hope that others will join them, including people who think that having world class higher ed and parks should be a higher priority in California than helping to sell cigarettes to kids.

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