The tobacco industry is funding ads opposing California’s proposed tax on cigarettes to raise money for cancer research.
Proposition 29 would add $1 per pack of cigarettes, the Los Angeles Times reports. California will vote on the measure June 5. The tobacco industry ads note the tax would raise money for research, but not for treatment.
Proponents of the tax say it is expected to raise more than $800 million for research on tobacco-related diseases and prevention programs. They estimate the tax raise will prevent 220,000 young people from starting to smoke, and encourage 100,000 smokers to quit.
So far, Philip Morris USA and RJ Reynolds Tobacco, two of the nation’s biggest tobacco companies, and their affiliates, have spent more than $30 million against the proposal. In addition to criticizing it for not including funds for treatment, they have attacked the initiative for allowing the proceeds of the tax to be used out of state.
Supporters of the measure have raised $4 million, the article notes. One backer of the proposal is seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, whose Livestrong Foundation contributed $1.5 million to the campaign. Other supporters include the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
The proposal calls for 60 percent of the money raised to be used to support research on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and potential cures for tobacco-related diseases. An additional 15 percent would be used to build or lease facilities, or to be spent on equipment, while 20 percent would be used for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The remaining 5 percent would be used for law enforcement programs to reduce illegal sales to minors and smuggling, and administrative costs.