Tobacco Tax Measure Discussed
KPCC's "Patt Morrison" -- the program formerly known as "Talk of the City" -- on Friday included a discussion of a proposed ballot initiative to increase the state tobacco tax by $2.60 per pack to fund health programs (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 5/5).
Supporters of the initiative submitted an estimated 1.1 million signatures to county registrars on Thursday to qualify the measure for the November ballot. According to the Secretary of State's office, 598,105 valid signatures are needed for the measure to qualify for the ballot.
The tax, which would raise the combined per-pack tax to $3.47, is expected to generate about $2.1 billion annually. However, that estimate likely will decline as more people stop using tobacco, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.
The initiative calls for:
- 52.75% of the revenue to be used to fund hospital emergency services, nurse education, community health clinics and tobacco cessation programs;
- 42.25% to be used for children's health insurance, including an expansion of the Healthy Kids program; smoking prevention campaigns; and cancer, heart, asthma and other disease research; and
- 5% to be used for cancer- and tobacco disease-related research.
Guests on the program included Maria Robles, spokesperson for the Coalition for a Healthy California, and Jacob Sullum -- senior editor for Reason magazine, author of the book "For Your Own Good: The Anti Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health" and an opponent of the measure ("Patt Morrison," KPCC, 5/5).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. 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.