05/17/2016

Tobacco tax initiative reaches signature goal


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, medical doctors, health care advocates, educators and a broad alliance of other supporters announced the milestone for “The California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016,” which would raise California’s cigarette tax, currently among the lowest in the country, to $2.87 a pack, with an equivalent tax on other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

Components and dental schools from across the state provided valuable help with the signature-gathering process.

“CDA would like to thank all members who helped with the signature-gathering effort. This is an important step toward preventing the next generation of children from taking up a deadly and addictive habit,” said CDA President Ken Wallis, DDS.

Nearly 17,000 California kids get hooked on smoking every year and half of them will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses. In addition to preventing cigarette smoking, this measure will also help curb the alarming rise in the use of e-cigarettes. Teen use of e-cigarettes grew 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 money raised by the measure would go toward Medi-Cal/Denti-Cal, funding health care for California’s most vulnerable children and seniors, and would help offset the billions in health care spending that smoking imposes on California taxpayers annually.

California’s tobacco tax has not increased since 1998.

Along with CDA, other members of the Save Lives California coalition include the California Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.


Previously posted 05/06/2016

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a package of five bills that are the most significant set of tobacco restrictions in years. Brown signed:

  • SB 5 X2 by Senator Mark Leno classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products. This will make them subject to smoke-free laws, age restrictions and other rules governing tobacco products.
  • SB 7 X2 by Senator Ed Hernandez and Assemblymember Jim Wood, DDS, raises the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
  • AB 7 X2 by Assemblymember Mark Stone closes loopholes in the state’s smoke-free workplace laws.
  • AB 9 X2 by Assemblymembers Tony Thurmond and Adrin Nazarian requires all schools to be tobacco-free.
  • AB 11 X2 by Assemblymember Nazarian establishes a tobacco licensing fee program under the state Board of Equalization.

  • “These bills are the most significant set of tobacco restrictions in years and we thank the governor and Legislature for taking this historic step,” said California Dental Association President Ken Wallis, DDS. “Dentists see the devastating effects of tobacco use every day and we are very pleased that California has taken bold steps to protect our residents from these deadly products.” 

    California becomes the second state, after Hawaii, to raise the smoking age to 21. More than 100 cities, including San Francisco, have also passed this policy. The state also joins a growing number of states regulating e-cigarettes like tobacco products in order to combat exploding use of e-cigarettes by teens.

    The governor vetoed one of the bills in the package that would have allowed counties to enact local tobacco taxes.

    The Save Lives California coalition continues to move forward with a ballot measure campaign to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The campaign is currently completing the process of gathering signatures to qualify the measure so that voters can have their say in November. CDA would like to thank all members who have helped with the signature gathering.

    The money raised would go toward funding health care for our state’s most vulnerable children and seniors, and would help offset the billions in health care spending that smoking imposes on California taxpayers annually.

    Along with CDA, other members of the Save Lives California coalition include the California Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

    For more information on the Save Lives California coalition, visit savelivesca.com.



    Related Items

    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.

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has awarded more than $2 million in first-year funding to seven research grants centered on studying the effects of electronic cigarettes on oral and craniofacial tissues. The timing of the awards is critical as research shows an increasing number of high school students, approximately 13.4 percent, are now using e-cigarettes.

    CDA applauds action by the state Assembly, which approved a package of six bills that will strengthen tobacco regulations, prevent cancer and save lives. Supported by CDA and the Save Lives California coalition, the bills increase the legal smoking age in California from 18 to 21 and regulate e-cigarettes by treating them as tobacco products.

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