Cancel the tax on tobacco products in California

The great success of Big Tobacco in branding the proposed cigarette tax California’s government boondoggle sent a message that could be repeated in other states, as the tendency to vote for the opposition. After a flurry of campaign advertising, the industry managed to reduce support for a $ 1-pack tax support of cycling legend Lance Armstrong of the two-thirds vote in the March draw on Election Day.

While the outcome remains unclear, on Wednesday afternoon, a feat experts say undermines the once-popular measure could scare off enemies of tobacco in other states. $ 47 million advertising campaign – which is barely, mentioned the word “tobacco” – showed that cigarette manufacturers are moving away from arguing about its products and looking for other ways to attack the tax initiatives.

“If they’re talking about smokers, the majority of people in California do not smoke,” said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona. “Instead, they talk about wasteful spending, and most people in California against wasteful spending.” In March, a statewide poll suggested that the proposal 29, which would use tax revenue to fund cancer research, will be held with the approval of two thirds. With hundreds of thousands of voices will continue to rely on the environment, it may be days or more before the winner is declared.

Taxes have been shown to reduce smoking, especially among young people, but in campaign advertising, tobacco companies have ignored the issue of smoking and the taxes in full, and instead focus on the problems of the state can work in an attempt to distribute income. The strategy is not easy to sow doubt in the minds of some voters. Many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, opposed the action, declaring their unwillingness to join the tobacco companies and the general support of such taxes of sin. They argued that the proceeds should go directly to the State that Governor Jerry Brown announced last month, now faces a deficit of $ 16 billion.

The situation resembles the 2006 California cigarette tax measures that have led to a large margin to the tobacco companies spent $ 66 million to win his ads, including those with a doctor’s Central Valley. The same doctor was a center of anti-tax campaign this year. Proposition 29 resulted in early returns Tuesday for most of the mail ballots were counted. But as sites began to count the votes on Election Day, the measure fell behind and started back on the fraction of a percent. Health care and anti-smoking advocates said they would not allow California’s fierce struggle to keep them from challenging the tobacco industry in the future.

“They do not like to lose a big campaign like this, because they know what motivates us,” said Danny McGoldrick in Washington, DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “I think they were trying to send a message to other states, not to try it, but I think people are now more than ever decided to take them.”Armstrong and the Coalition for Tobacco Control Group said that they raised about $ 12 million to support the measure. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made headlines when he was hit in the $ 500,000 to help offset the industry donations.

But efforts were dwarfed by the $ 47 million raised opponent’s great distances, even for the hottest races of the state. For comparison, Jerry Brown has spent about $ 36 million in 2010 to become a successful proposal by the Governor of California and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his allies spent $ 47 million to repel recall task this week. The most populous state of the country has become a problem for proponents of the tax on tobacco products in recent years. Californians approved a raft of restrictions on smoking in the late 1990s and helped to drive smokers away from the beaches, from the bus station, and in some cases out of their cars and apartments.

Famously health-conscious state did not raise taxes on tobacco since 1998, while the rest of the country caught up. If the new tax is passed, California would still have only 16 highest tax rate in the country. The vast majority of past taxes on tobacco products have been approved in the statehouses, and not the election, according to data compiled for the Associated Press, the campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Missouri voters are expected to weigh in on tax increases on tobacco products in November, and such proposals await action in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Illinois statehouses, according to the campaign.

In California, where the smoking rate is just 12.1 percent, lawmakers have defeated more than 30 attempts to raise tobacco taxes in the last 30 years. Anti-smoking advocates say that far from discouraging them, every defeat in the election teaches them how to make their initiative are less vulnerable to attack. “This shows that spending 47 million dollars can make people confused, and when people are confused, they tend to vote no,” said Stan Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

If the measure was sent the money directly to the bleeding in the general fund of the state, the opposition campaign would not have been able to raise the range of tax dollars leaving California, he said. “But they probably would have thought of something else,” he said.

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