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California Newspapers: Don’t Believe Big Tobacco’s Lies

April 30, 2012


California’s newspapers aren’t fooled by tobacco industry lies about Proposition 29 – and they’re urging voters to beat back the scare tactics and support the measure to increase cigarette taxes, fund tobacco prevention programs and boost cancer research to save lives.

“It’s amazing how many deceptions can be packed into 30 seconds,” the San Francisco Chronicle says in decrying the tobacco industry’s multi-million dollar media campaign to thwart the initiative, which would hike cigarette taxes by $1 a pack. The referendum is on the ballot June 5.

In truth, the Chronicle says, the higher cigarette tax will deter young people from smoking and was put up for a voter referendum because the California Legislature has “shown no willingness to take on Big Tobacco.”

California’s current cigarette tax – 87 cents per pack – is well below the national average and hasn’t been raised since 1988. The revenue from the tax hike would finance cancer research as well as programs to keep kids from smoking and help smokers quit. “Prop. 29 is a well-crafted measure that will save lives,” the Chronicle says. “Voters should approve it.”

Newspapers around the state agree:

“To discourage smoking and save lives, California must again raise the tobacco tax,” says the Sacramento Bee. The newspaper said it was making an exception to its customary policy of frowning on “ballot-box budgeting” because the tobacco industry has thwarted legislative efforts to raise cigarette taxes for years. “California can do better. To save lives, it must do better.”

In Santa Rosa, the Press Democrat warns: “Don’t believe the rhetoric. The tobacco companies opposing Proposition 29 are not interested in greater government efficiency or accountability. They just want to continue selling cigarettes at one of the most affordable rates in the nation.”

Read more reasons to support Prop 29!