California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ads Supporting Prop. 29 Aim To Counter Tobacco Industry’s Criticisms

On Tuesday, supporters of Proposition 29 launched three advertisements seeking to undermine the credibility of opposition efforts funded by tobacco companies, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/8).

Background on Prop. 29

Prop. 29 is a June ballot initiative that would increase the state's tobacco sales tax by $1 per pack. The current tobacco tax is 87 cents per pack. The state allocates 50 cents of that amount for First 5 early childhood health and education programs.

The ballot initiative was written by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.

Supporters of Prop. 29 say the tax increase would generate about $600 million annually to fund research on smoking-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

They note that it also would produce $179 million each year for tobacco cessation, prevention and enforcement initiatives (California Healthline, 4/27).

Details of New Ads

The three 15-second television ads began airing in Northern California markets on Tuesday, according to the Yes on 29 campaign.

One of the ads responds directly to an ad opposing the ballot initiative that features a San Joaquin General Hospital physician saying Prop. 29 would create a new bureaucracy and permit research funding to leave the state.

The other two ads feature cyclist Lance Armstrong, whose Lance Armstrong Foundation has given $1.5 million in support of Prop. 29 ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/8).

Prop. 29 Opponents Outspend Supporters

Meanwhile, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Philip Morris USA and their affiliates recently contributed another $15 million to fight Prop. 29, according to campaign records (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/7).

The companies have now spent $38 million to defeat the measure, compared with the roughly $4.7 million that proponents have spent to support it (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/7).

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