Public health and big tobacco

Blog Post created by dr_hays on Nov 2, 2016

Tobacco companies have spent 71 million dollars in California to defeat Proposition 56, which would increase the tax on cigarettes from 87 cents to $2.00. The tobacco industry attacks indoor smoking laws and tobacco taxes more than any other thing, because these public health measures work.  Increased tobacco taxes and laws prohibiting indoor smoking make it more likely that a smoker will quit, and make it even more likely that young people will not start smoking.  

A recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times encourages voters to ignore this deluge from the tobacco industry and support the tax increase.  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-proposition-56-20160926-snap-story.html .   We agree.  Cigarettes are the only product that will kill more than 50% of the people who consume the product in the way that the manufacturer intends. Tobacco use caused more than 50,000 deaths in California from cancer alone in 2014. It is hard to imagine the gall it must take to direct so much money to fight against a measure that will surely save hundreds of thousands of lives and incalculable illness and grief.

I encourage you to read the editorial linked above.  I also encourage you to learn about what is happening in your state and at a local level to mitigate the tobacco epidemic.  The National Tobacco Control Program has four goals:  1.) Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke 2.) Promote quitting among adults and youth 3.) Prevent initiation among youth and young adults 4.) Identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities.  You can find the plan to accomplish these goals and an evaluation of how your state is doing with this at this website.


Some countries, like Australia and New Zealand are making plans to end the tobacco epidemic.  Your interest and awareness can help this happen here in the USA as well.