05/15/2015

CDA-supported tobacco tax ballot measure filed


A CDA-supported initiative and two CDA-supported bills that aim to increase the tax on cigarettes and allocate the funds for various programs throughout California are moving forward.  

The Save Lives California coalition, of which CDA is a member, filed two ballot measures for the November 2016 ballot that would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack and allocate the estimated $1.5 billion in additional revenue for smoking prevention and smoking-related costs incurred by the state’s Medi-Cal program. One version is for standard cigarettes, and the other would extend the tax to electronic cigarettes if the state follows through with a current proposal to label them as tobacco products.

The initiative effort would move forward if two CDA-supported pieces of legislation are not enacted this year.

SB 591 by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), which would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack, recently passed the Senate Health Committee and AB 1396 by Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which would allocate the revenues generated by SB 591, passed out of the Assembly Health Committee.

The current tax on cigarettes is 87 cents per pack, ranking 33rd among the states, and California has not increased the tax since 1998. The Save Lives California coalition is supporting both bills and is highlighting the fact that tobacco-related deaths are the single most preventable cause of death in California, claiming more than 40,000 lives per year and costing taxpayers billions of dollars to treat victims of tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco-related diseases cost the state of California more than $13 billion in health care costs annually.

SB 591 would raise an estimated $1.5 billion annually that, through allocations made by AB 1396, would be targeted at increasing access to care for Medi-Cal patients, supporting prevention, education and cessation programs and stopping illegal sales of tobacco.

Mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 115 new individuals each day in the U.S. alone and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Dentists can help their patients become tobacco free by using the online tobacco cessation information on U.S. Health and Human Services’ Be Tobacco Free website or Smokefree.gov. Dentists also can refer their patients to 800.QUITNOW (800.784.8669) or 800.NOBUTTS (800.662.8887) for phone support and to set up a personalized plan to quit.

For more information on smokeless tobacco use in Major League Baseball athletes, read the January issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association.



Related Items

Two CDA-supported bills that together would increase the tax on cigarettes and allocate the funds for various programs throughout California passed out of their respective committee hearings in the Senate and Assembly. SB 591 by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), which would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack, passed the Senate Health Committee and AB 1396 by Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which would allocate the revenues generated by SB 591, passed out of the Assembly Health Committee.

CDA is supporting new legislation that would remove tobacco from baseball stadiums in California and increase the tax on cigarettes. According to the FDA, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.

The U.S. Surgeon General has updated Dr. Luther Terry’s landmark report on smoking and health. According to the ADA, the 998-page report, titled The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014, updates evidence on the implications for oral health from tobacco use and the “expanding use of multiple products or the replacement of conventional combustible cigarettes with other nicotine delivery systems.”

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