Prop. 56 campaign mobilizing grassroots supporters

CDA is gearing up for the Yes on 56 campaign to raise California's tobacco tax and is distributing promotional campaign materials to local component dental societies, dental schools, specialty groups and ethnic societies. The materials will be available the first week of September and include lab coat cards, buttons and stickers. CDA encourages supporters to share the materials with colleagues, patients and friends and explain how this measure will save lives and improve California's health care system.

The Yes on 56 campaign will also have a booth at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco Sept. 8-10. Members can stop by booth 505 (near the continuing education workshop) on the exhibit hall floor of Moscone South to learn more about the measure and pick up materials. Materials will include posters in several sizes for placement in waiting rooms, offices and similar locations. The posters will also be available for download on the campaign website, yeson56.org.

The campaign released its first online and television ad and continues to gain momentum and earn significant endorsements, recently earning the support of the California School Boards Association, the Children's Defense Fund, the California NAACP and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry has begun spending heavily against the measure. Altria and its subsidiaries (makers of Marlboro cigarettes and MarkTen and Green Smoke electronic cigarettes) and R.J. Reynolds (makers of Camel and Newport cigarettes and VUSE electronic cigarettes) have poured nearly $17 million into the campaign against Proposition 56 to date and the tobacco industry is expected to spend tens of millions more.
California's tobacco tax has not increased since 1998.

Proposition 56 will raise the state's tax on tobacco products (now among the lowest in the nation) by $2 — from 87 cents per pack of cigarettes to $2.87 per pack. An equivalent increase will apply to all tobacco products and the tax would apply to electronic cigarettes for the first time. Raising the cost of tobacco is a proven way to reduce use, as every 10 percent increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes leads to a 7 percent drop in teen smoking. Furthermore, teen use of e-cigarettes has grown tenfold in the past four years, and teens who use e-cigarettes are three times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes within one year.

The measure will also generate revenue for critical state health care programs such as Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal as well as for cessation and research programs, and produce $30 million for the state's oral health program overseen by the new state dental director, an unprecedented dedicated funding source for this program.

  • For more information about the tax initiative and the Yes on 56 campaign, visit yeson56.org. Dentists can add their name to the list of campaign supporters at yeson56.org/take-action.


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