CDA-supported tobacco tax bills move forward

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.

The current tax on cigarettes is 87 cents per pack, ranking 33rd among the states, and California has not increased the tax since 1998. A broad coalition of health care organizations are 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. According to the bills’ sponsors, tobacco-related diseases cost the state of California more than $13 billion in health care costs annually and more than $3.5 billion are taxpayer dollars used to treat Medi-Cal patients with tobacco-related illnesses.

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

Several CDA-supported bills that would help further the effort to fight tobacco use passed out of their first legislative committee hearings. All forms of tobacco contain high concentrations of cancer-causing agents, and these substances subject users to increased cancer risk not only of the oral cavity, but also the pharynx, larynx and esophagus.

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.

January 2015
January 2015 Journal of the California Dental Association
The January 2015 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association addresses a number of general topics including smokeless tobacco use in MLB athletes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the dental practice and oral leukoplakia development in patients with preexisting oral lichen planus.