Tobacco tax 'official' as Prop 56

The secretary of state officially validated the tobacco tax measure for the November ballot on June 30 and announced that it will be Proposition 56. This is the result of efforts by the Save Lives California coalition, a partnership of health care and other organizations including CDA, which worked to get this life-saving initiative on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.

The coalition gathered about 1 million signatures to qualify the measure for the fall ballot, and the qualification means more than enough signatures were validated to place the measure before voters. Called The California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, the measure would raise California's cigarette tax (and all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes), currently among the lowest in the country, by $2 a pack – from 87 cents to $2.87 a pack. Raising the cost of tobacco products is a proven way to prevent teens from becoming addicted to tobacco, save lives, improve health care and fund research to fight cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.
Specifically, Proposition 56 will fund:

  • Health care and dental disease prevention programs, including Medi-Cal, Denti-Cal and the state oral health program overseen by California's dental director.
  • Smoking prevention programs administered by the California Department of Public Health Tobacco Control Program and the Department of Education.
  • Medical research on tobacco-related diseases including cancer and heart and lung disease through the University of California.

California currently spends $3.5 billion dollars each year treating cancer and other tobacco-related diseases through Medi-Cal and this measure will help offset those costs.

Proposition 56 will be listed sixth on the ballot out of the 17 measures that have qualified (Proposition 51–Proposition 67), the most on a ballot since 2000 when 20 measures qualified. The Legislature may still add measures before the end of its session in August.

To sign up in support of the campaign, please visit yesoncatobaccotax.com.

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The Save Lives California coalition, a coalition of health care organizations including CDA, continues to move forward with a ballot measure campaign to raise the state's tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The campaign recently submitted more than enough signatures to qualify a life-saving tobacco tax initiative for the Nov. 8, 2016, statewide ballot.

Dentists interested in signing petitions to qualify a ballot measure to increase the state's tobacco tax by $2 should contact their local components right away. CDA delivered petition forms to all local components, and those signatures must be returned to CDA by April 15.