On June 5, Californians will vote on Proposition 29, which, if passed, will place a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes. If you've turned on the TV lately, you've probably heard of Prop 29, because Big Tobacco has spent $40 million to try to defeat it. Why? Because every person -- every child -- that turns away from smoking pulls money from the pockets of the Big Tobacco industry.
There's still so much we don't know about cancer, but there are a few things we know for sure: one is that smoking causes cancer and that it is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Prop 29 is projected to save more than 104,000 smokers from an early death, and more than 228,000 kids from becoming adult smokers. In addition, the money collected from this tax -- which is levied only on smokers -- will benefit the fight to save lives through cancer research.
At Stand Up To Cancer, we think that's a no-brainer. Please stand up with us on June 5 and vote "yes" on 29.
If you're still skeptical, here's a primer to help you tease out the facts from the propaganda on the issues of this unnecessarily complicated bill.
Prop 29 Fact or Propaganda?
No. 1: "The research money will go out of state."
Propaganda. The funds from Prop 29 will be administered by a committee of 11 California doctors. Why would they send the funds out of state? Prop 29's language is clear: tobacco tax revenue must be spent in California.
It is true that the bill does not specifically exclude researchers from collaborating on funded research with other cancer research institutions, and for good reason. According to state leader Don Perata, one of the originators of the bill, it would be silly to include such a clause: "Why should a pinhead like me tell one of these great [California] institutions that it can't collaborate with someone? We want the best and the brightest to be able to work together."
No. 2: "The money won't go to cancer treatment."
Fact. But that's because the measure isn't designed to put money into treatment, Prop 29 is designed to put money into much needed cancer research, which will ultimately result in more effective treatments.
No. 3: "The medical community is against it."
Propaganda. California is full of actors willing to lie for a paycheck and they are the ones putting on lab coats in the new Prop 29 ads.
Big Tobacco has also paid for other anti Prop 29 ads featuring Dr. LaDonna Porter, someone who has been featured in other campaigns paid for by Big Tobacco in the past. To learn more about Dr. Porter and the questionable distortions in her ads, watch and share this video.
The fact is that 35,000 doctors of the Californian Medical Association Support Prop 29. In addition to that, physicians and medical researchers overwhelmingly support this initiative.
No. 4 "In New York, the tax alone, per pack, is greater than the cost of a pack of cigarettes in California."
Fact. At 87 cents a pack California's tobacco tax is currently one of the lowest in the nation and has remained untouched since 1998. The addition of a $1 tax per pack will still make cigarettes in California less expensive than states such as New York.
No. 5 "The money raised won't support other programs."
Fact. This money will support life saving research for the diseases that smoking and tobacco products cause. This seems to us at Stand Up To Cancer to be exactly the right kind of way to spend money generated from a product that kills an estimated 5 million people a year.
For more information, check out:
Californians for a Cure: http://californiansforacure.org/
Cigarette Tax is a Lifesaver: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap-tobacco-tax-20120514,0,1637389,full.column
Millions Raised For, Against Prop 29 Tobacco Tax: http://californiansforacure.org/news/news/546?_c=10l65hqvqqg17fe&1=