Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 5:36 am | Fair 37º


Letter to the Editor: Proposition 29 Would Save Lives

Tobacco companies have been covering news outlets statewide in hopes of beating Proposition 29. But (in case you hadn’t heard) political ads aren’t the best way to learn what’s in a ballot measure.

For example: A recent Prop. 29 opposition ad has decided to stop noting that it’s a proposed “tobacco tax.” Now it’s just referred to as “almost a billion dollars in new taxes on Californians.” In fact, this new $1 tobacco tax — paid only by those who purchase tobacco products — would save 104,000 lives; stop 228,000 kids from smoking; and generate approximately $735 million every year to support lifesaving research and tobacco prevention programs. Prop. 29 would also provide vital funding to make advances in prevention, detection and treatment of cancer, heart disease and other smoking‐related illnesses.

The breakdown:

» 60 percent would fund cancer and other smoking‐related research (approximately $441 million annually)

» 20 percent would fund tobacco use prevention and smoking cessation (approximately $147 million annually)

» 15 percent would pay for facilities and equipment to support research (approximately $110 million annually)

» 3 percent would help enforce anti‐tobacco laws and stop tobacco smuggling (approximately $22 million annually)

» 2 percent would be the maximum amount used for administering the program (approximately $15 million annually)

When it comes to accountability, Prop. 29 would put decisions in the hands of researchers. A nine‐member committee of California’s leading cancer center directors, University of California chancellors, representatives of disease advocacy organizations and survivors would award all funds. That means the funds from this initiative could not be used by politicians and would not be part of the general fund.

Make no mistake. Prop. 29 would result in fewer new teen smokers and more people quitting, which the tobacco industry sees as a threat to company profits. Over the past decade, tobacco companies spent 10 times as much marketing tobacco in California as the state spent on tobacco prevention. Prop. 29 would triple the state’s funding for smoking cessation programs that work. The increased price of tobacco products would lead to fewer teen smokers while the increased funds for tobacco control and cessation would help smokers quit. That would mean fewer smokers, and less profit for big tobacco.

I support Proposition 29 because I know it will save lives, stop kids from smoking and fund livesaving cancer research.

I will be voting yes on Prop. 29 on June 5.

Lucille Boss Ramirez
Santa Barbara

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