Tobacco Industry Outspending Proponents of Tobacco Tax Increase
Tobacco companies have outspent supporters of Proposition 86 by a margin of three-to-one, the Wall Street Journal reports. The initiative on the Nov. 7 statewide ballot would increase the state tobacco tax by $2.60 per pack of cigarettes to fund health care programs.
The group has spent $55 million to defeat the initiative, with Phillip Morris, Inc., having spent $30.7 million and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco contributing about $24 million.
According to the Journal, the tobacco companies are spending heavily on the measure "because the stakes are so high." California represents Phillip Morris' largest domestic market, and the state accounts for about 6% of Reynolds' cigarette sales.
In addition, the companies are fighting similar measures in other states, including Arizona, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota. According to the Journal, tobacco companies "are spending tens of millions of dollars and, in some cases, pushing rival propositions that sound like tough restrictions but would actually ease antismoking laws" (Cooper, Wall Street Journal, 10/10).
KPBS' "These Days" on Tuesday included a discussion of Proposition 86. Guests on the program included Auday Arabo, president and CEO of California Independent Grocers and Convenience Stores and an opponent of the measure, and Wendy Lazarus, founder and co-president of the Children's Partnership and supporter of the measure (Fudge, "These Days," KPBS, 10/10). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.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.