Thursday, May 31, 2012

Celebrate World No Tobacco Day by voting YES on Prop. 29

Could you imagine if the monies from BP were used for anything other than cleaning up the oil mess they created in the Gulf? The tobacco companies have created a "tsunami" of death, disability and destruction--it's time to clean up their mess, and Prop. 29 does just that, since Big Tobacco doesn't care about their health of their consumer, only their blood-money profits. 

California used to lead the nation is tobacco control effects but now the sunshine state isn't even considered a "no-smoking" state because of the loopholes in our tobacco laws. Cali is only one of 3 states that has not raised tobacco taxes in over 15 years. Fourteen attempts have been tried through the legislative process to increase tobacco taxes and each one has failed because Big Tobacco has successfully bought off politicians on both sides of the aisle and the former "governator" Schwarzenegger vetoed attempts to close smoking loopholes, and make hospitals smoke-free.

On Tuesday, June 5th, the voters of California have the opportunity to lead the nation once again by passing Prop 29--The California Cancer Research Act. Unlike other states which have raised tobacco taxes to supplement their general fund, Prop. 29 has the health of smokers in mind. 

Leading non-profit health agencies such as the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and Livestrong all support Prop. 29 because it provides monies for cancer research, cessation and prevention. It adds a $1 to the price of a pack of cigarettes which is more of a "user" fee than a tax since the monies will be used to benefit long-term smokers who dis-proportionally suffer from cancer, heart disease, stroke and COPD.

But Big Tobacco doesn't want California to succeed because it will affect their $800 million in annual profits that are pulled out of California. They out spend tobacco control effects of prevention by 10 times by marketing to our children. The top six tobacco companies make an annual $35 BILLION in profits which represents about $6000 in profit for every smoking related death world wide. 

To protect their blood-money profits, Big Tobacco has spent over $40 million to defeat Prop. 29 and is expected to spend another $20 the last week before the election in a true David v. Goliath fight. Supporters of Prop. 29 have less than $9 million to counter attack the lies and half-truths spewed by Big Tobacco.

Tobacco companies have been lying to the public for over 50 years and in 2006, federal Judge Glady Kessler convicted the tobacco industry as racketeers (which has been upheld all the way to the Supreme Court). She stated, 
"(This case) is about an industry, that survives and profits from selling a highly addictive product which causes diseases that lead to a staggering number of deaths per year, an immeasurable amount of human suffering and economic loss, and a profound burden on our national health care system. (The tobacco companies) have known many of these facts for at least 50 years or more. Despite that knowledge, they have consistently, repeatedly and with enormous skill and sophistication, denied these facts to the public, the Government, and to the public health community. Defendants have marketed and sold their lethal products with zeal, with deception, with a single minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted."
Judge Kessler further stated that the tobacco companies have NOT stopped engaging in illegal activities and have a "corporate culture of corruption that is unlikely to change." Their conduct continues to mislead consumers, recruit new smokers who are under the age of 18, and prevent current smokers from quitting in order to maximize their profits. 

Today is World No Tobacco Day and I can't think of a better way for Californians to celebrate than by voting YES on Prop. 29 and put another nail in big tobacco's coffin, after all, think of all the coffin nails they have pushed and the countless lives lost for their greed. 


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