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Cigarette Tax


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  • 3 weeks later...

Sher you better fight that some of the money would go to lung cancer research. Here in Minnesota where the state won piles of money from the tobacco settlement, none of it is going to research.

We are balancing the budget with the new "user fee" on cigarettes (heavens that we call it a tax)!

The money from the tobacco settlement is building new roads.

Donna G

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You're so right, Donna, and I know just what you mean. Minnesota settled their lawsuit with the tobacco industry previously, and wasn't a part of the same settlement as California. California is supposed to get $25 billion over 25 years, with half the money going to the state and the other half being divided between the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, and all 58 counties. The Master Settlement Agreement does't specify how the settlement funds are to be appropriated, whether at the state or local level. Decision makers in the 58 counties and four cities determine how these millions of MSA dollars are spent. So far, 64% of the counties don't spend any of the funds they received on tobacco programs. And up until 2001, the money received by the state was put into the General Fund. Then the state established a new special fund--the Tobacco Settlement Fund (TSF)--to support a variety of health care programs and some tobacco cessation programs and studies. You would think that now some of this money would go to lung cancer, wouldn't you? Nope! The TSF goes to breast, cervical and prostate cancer treatment, more healthcare access for the needy, Medi-Cal, women, infants and children health programs, etc. The only thing even comes close to lung cancer funding is the youth anti-tobacco program. Don't get me wrong, these are all good programs. But it just doesn't make any sense that absolutely none of the money goes to funding lung cancer research and treatment! Sorry about the rant, but I think that's just unbelievably absurd. And that's why I said "hopefully" some of the cigarette tax money would go to fund lung cancer. If the MSA is any indication of what will be, chances are slim.

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From the last report I read on the subject, about 6 months ago, Of all the tobacco settlement money, only 2 states used ANY portion of the money on smoking or cancer related issues. Those 2 states used the minimum recommended amount, and used it to fund television advertising geared to deter teenage smoking. I can't quite remember the states, I think New Hampshire was one and maybe Virginia the other.

All other states used the money to balance governmental budgets, for road repair and social programs. As of that report date, not one dollar had gone to cancer research or medical programs.

Makes me ill.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to be so late in posting to this one, but I am not able to get much time on LCSC anymore - boy, do I miss all the folks here :(

I am Co-chair of the CA Steering committee of Lung Cancer Alliance, so have been following the situation with tobacco funding closely. The entire MSA funding allotted to the state was securitized (sold as bonds) to balance the budget, meaning that money is gone. As stated earlier, most of the money for the counties has not even been used for tobacco control. My own county securitized the money to build a new jail.

The proposed tobacco tax is a result of a combination of two initiatives originally proposed by different groups - neither of which had ANY funding for lung cancer. The new initiative is a proposed $2.6o/pack increase. It at least mentions lung cancer, but the lung cancer funding is a very small amount of the total and is combined with other lung diseases. There is specific funding for things like breast cancer and even obesity.

We have been working with one of the partners on the initiative to at least secure 1% of the total funding for early detection and better treatment options. To get a better understanding of the initiative, you can read a Sacramento Bee article which is still posted on the Lung Cancer Aware site - http://www.lungcanceraware.org/tti.htm

The graphs at the bottom are particulary helpful.

If you really want to impact where this and other tobacco funding goes in California, please consider adding your name to the Lung Cancer Alliance California general membership roster. There is no financial commitment. We will keep you informed on what is happening with state funding and send out a "Call to Action" for contacting your representative when important bills are pending. You may e-mail me at lcaware@earthlink.net to add your name. We must show the groups who have been guiding policies regarding lung cancer that we mean business and are not going away!

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The new tax money has many specific places to go. The vast majority will be going to the hospital emergency room services. Then there are numerous other places. There is some money for tobacco control. I am trying to get in contact with someone who has far more experience than I with the financial stuff to figure out if there is any funding for lung cancer in the proposed state budget (due to be passed June 15). Probably unlikely. We have so very much work to do.

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