TOBACCO SURVEY: Californians Want Settlement Funds To Go To Public Health
Support is growing among Californians to use any tobacco settlement funds for public health initiatives, according to two new surveys by the Field Institute for the California Center for Health Improvement (CCHI). Seven in ten residents support the idea of using all, most or some of the tobacco settlement money to fund community-based public health services (76%), to help pay the costs of treating people with smoking-related illnesses (71%) and to fund anti-smoking programs (70%). Fifty-eight percent want to provide additional funds for a range of existing state government programs. In addition, the surveys found that 53% of Californians agree that "increasing state or federal tobacco taxes will discourage people from smoking, particularly children and young people," while 46% disagree. The surveys note that by greater than a two to one margin (68% to 30%) Californians agree that, "tobacco is an addictive drug that should be regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, like other drugs."
Protect Those Kids!
The surveys also found that many Californians (63%) believe tobacco companies deliberately market cigarettes to minors. An even larger majority (74%) agrees that tobacco company contributions to politicians prevent them from taking steps to protect children from the health risks of smoking. The survey also found that by a 71% to 28% margin, residents believe that the entertainment industry plays a role in minors' decisions to start smoking. Additionally, 52% of the public believes that TV programs, movies, popular music and advertising have a negative impact on children's or youth's attitudes toward smoking. Fifty-seven percent of Californians favor some sort of voluntary or legislative standard, while 41% believe no rules should be set by the entertainment industry. Karen Bodenhorn, president and CEO of CCHI, noted, "Californians, including parents and non-parents, are clearly identifying influences they believe encourage smoking by youth and adolescents. The tobacco industry, politicians and the media should take note." The surveys of 1,168 and 1,006 California adults were conducted statewide between October 8-November 8 and November 12-23; the surveys have a margin of error of plus/minus 3% (CCHI release, 2/25).