Groups Join To Support Tobacco Tax Measure for Health Program Funding
The hospital industry and a coalition of health organizations on Tuesday announced an agreement to support a $2.60 per pack increase in the state's tobacco tax for the November 2006 ballot, rather than introduce competing initiatives, the Oakland Tribune reports (Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, 12/14).
Each of the competing campaigns would have increased the tobacco tax by $1.50. One proposal supported by the California Hospital Association would have used the revenue to fund emergency services. The other proposal, supported by the American Cancer Society and disease and children's advocacy organizations, would have used the funds for disease prevention and treatment programs, health care coverage for uninsured children and anti-smoking programs (California Healthline, 11/28).
Under the new measure, the tobacco tax would be increased by 300%, bringing the state's total tobacco tax to $3.47 (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 12/14). According to the AP/Los Angeles Times, the tax would raise about $2.7 billion annually if tobacco sales remain at their current levels (AP/Los Angeles Times, 12/14). However, supporters of the initiative said the tobacco revenue is projected to decline by about 7% annually as more smokers quit (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/14).
The revenue would be distributed as follows:
- 36% to hospital emergency services;
- 18% to providing children's health insurance;
- 13% to cancer, heart disease and asthma prevention and disease management programs;
- 8% to tobacco control, education and enforcement;
- 7% to offset lost revenue to Proposition 10 programs, which provide early childhood health care and education services;
- 5% to medical research;
- 4% to nursing education;
- 3% to community clinics;
- 3% to emergency physicians;
- 1% to prostate cancer treatment;
- 1% to tobacco cessation services; and
- Less than 1% each to a physician education fund and administrative costs (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 12/14).
Most tobacco companies and taxpayer groups are expected to oppose the measure, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 12/13). 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.