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Public Health Victory over Tobacco


MsC1210

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The American Lung Association would like to thank you and the thousands of concerned citizens across the five states that took a stand against Big Tobacco this Election Day by voting to increase tobacco excise taxes, fund tobacco control programs and pass smokefree workplace laws. Despite spending close to $90 million, the tobacco companies – including Reynolds American and Philip Morris – were defeated in five of the seven states where tobacco control measures appeared on the ballot. Thank you for spreading the word to your friends and family in these states. Together, we sent Big Tobacco packing.

Here’s a quick recap of what voters in these seven states decided:

Smokefree Workplace Laws Passed in Arizona, Ohio and Nevada

Voters in Arizona and Ohio joined the 14 other smokefree states that have passed comprehensive smokefree workplace laws. This action protects the right of everyone in Arizona and Ohio to breathe clean air. Not only did Ohioans pass a strong, comprehensive smokefree law by a 58.3 percent to 41.7 margin, but they also beat back Big Tobacco’s constitutional amendment by almost 30 points that would have repealed comprehensive smokefree laws in many cities and substituted them with much weaker provisions. Voters in Arizona were also wise to Big Tobacco’s dirty tricks – they chose the real smokefree workplace law (54.2 to 45.8 percent) over the fake initiative financed by the tobacco companies (42.7 to 57.3 percent).

Nevada also passed its Clean Indoor Air Act by almost 8 percent. It will protect Nevada workers and families from secondhand smoke by prohibiting smoking in restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, other retail establishments and bars that serve food. It also gives local governments the authority to pass tougher smokefree laws. Voters also defeated a weak clean air initiative 52 percent to 48 percent.

Tobacco Prevention Funding Restored in Florida

Sixty-one percent of voters in Florida sent the message to elected officials that tobacco control programs are vital to their state’s public health. Florida – which once had one of the top tobacco control programs in the nation – will again fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at a significant level now that voters decided that the state should use its tobacco settlement money for its original intent.

Tobacco Tax Increase Approved in South Dakota:

South Dakota voted to increase its tobacco excise taxes and use many of the proceeds to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Higher cigarette taxes and increased funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs are scientifically proven ways to reduce smoking, save lives and save money by reducing smoking-caused health care costs.

Unfortunately, voters in California and Missouri did not approve increases in tobacco excise taxes. Despite the tobacco companies pouring millions of dollars into negative campaign ads to defeat this initiative, the California initiative failed to pass by less than 5 percent, while the Missouri initiative lost by just 3.4 percent. We will continue to work in both California and Missouri to pass strong and effective tobacco control measures, which include tobacco tax increases and strong tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Thank You!

Thank you for helping us defeat Big Tobacco at the polls this Election Day. Voters saw through the industry’s dirty tricks – despite the close to $90 million Big Tobacco spent on misleading campaigns to defeat good public health initiatives.

Of course, Big Tobacco’s behavior is no surprise. This summer a federal judge found the major tobacco companies guilty of federal racketeering charges. Judge Kessler correctly concluded that tobacco companies have engaged in a long-term, fraudulent scheme to mislead the American people about the health risks of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, the addictiveness of their products, and in their tactics for marketing their products to children.

Thank you for spreading the word and letting Big Tobacco know that we’re not going to take it any more. We look forward to working with you in the weeks and years to come to push for common sense tobacco control policies that promote public health.

Thanks again!

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The tax in California was unfortunately doomed from the start. The tax included monies for every intiative under the sun until the initiatives which should have been funded (lung cancer for one) got lost in the shuffle.

The tax got too big because everyone wanted a slice of the action and a good measure went down in flames.

Hopefully one day the law makers propose a tax in California where the proceeds only go to smoking related disease...period.

But we'll see.

Baby steps folks.

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