The California Cancer Research Act (Proposition 29), an initiative on the June 5 statewide ballot, will raise the cost of cigarette packs by $1 and dedicate those new funds to cancer research and smoking cessation efforts.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Hispanic men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Hispanic women. Furthermore, Latino youth are more likely to have higher rates of smoking than teens of other races and ethnicities as well as Hispanic adults. Among a group of high school smokers, 19.2 percent were Latino. This is more than double of African American (7.4 percent) and nearly double of Asian American (9.7 percent) students. Cigarette smoking remains the principle cause of lung cancer, per the CDC.
"We know that cancer is one of the biggest killers in California," said Felix Aguilar, MD, American Cancer Society volunteer. "Everyone has been touched by the tragedy of cancer, and I'll tell you, if this $1 increase could save just one life, wouldn't it be worth it?"
If passed, Proposition 29 will save 104,000 lives, stop 228,000 kids from smoking and generate more than $500 million every year to support life saving research. Proposition 29 will also provide vital funding to make advances in prevention, detection and treatment of cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses.
The additional resources earned from the increased cigarette tax will fund the following:
•60 percent will fund cancer and other smoking-related research (approximately $441 million annually)
•20 percent will fund tobacco use prevention and smoking cessation (approximately $147 million annually)
•15 percent will pay for facilities and equipment to support research (approximately $110 million annually)
•3 percent will help enforce anti-tobacco laws and stop tobacco smuggling (approximately $22 million annually)
•2 percent is the maximum amount used for administering the program (approximately $15 million annually)
Proposition 29 will result in fewer new teen smokers and more people quitting, which the tobacco industry sees as a threat to company profits. Over the last decade, tobacco industries spent 10 times as much in marketing tobacco in California as the state did on tobacco prevention. Proposition 29 will triple the state's funding for tobacco use prevention and smoking cessation – preventing tens of thousands of children from becoming smokers, and helping tens of thousands of smokers quit.
Proposition 29, written by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate and the American Lung Association in California, is supported by Lance Armstrong, doctors, scientists and researchers throughout America. A complete list of supporters and more information on Proposition 29 can be found online at www.californiansforacure.org.