Coalition Airs Radio Ads in Opposition to Proposed Reductions for Tobacco Prevention Programs
A coalition of health care advocacy groups on Tuesday began a radio advertising campaign to bolster public opposition to a fiscal year 2002-2003 budget proposal by Gov. Gray Davis (D) and lawmakers that would reduce funds for tobacco prevention programs and use future tobacco settlement funds to help cover the state's estimated $23.6 billion deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports. The ads, sponsored by American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, ask Davis and lawmakers to allocate 15 cents of a proposed 63-cent increase in the state's tax on each pack of cigarettes to tobacco-prevention programs. Davis plans to spend $650 million from the tax to reduce the budget deficit. In addition, his budget proposal would borrow $4.5 billion from the state's share of the national tobacco settlement. More than 20% of the funds that Davis would use to cover the deficit would come from tobacco-related programs, the Times reports (Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 7/10). The radio ads also oppose legislation that would establish a state licensing authority to "recoup up to $160 million a year through a crackdown on black-market cigarette sales." Anti-tobacco groups said that the bill includes an "implied preemption" of local laws to restrict the sale of tobacco to minors. In Sacramento Tuesday, representatives from the coalition "mixed it up loudly" with Sen. Steve Peace (D-El Cajon), the original sponsor of the tobacco-licensing bill, at a press conference to appeal for the defeat of the legislation and for a "restoration of tobacco-control funding" (Sweeney, Copley News Service/San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.