For the first half of 2012, the Lung Association fought hard for the passage of Proposition 29, the California Cancer Research Act, which would have increased the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack and directed nearly $600 million annually to cancer research while tripling the state's funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. As a principle co-sponsor of the Yes on Proposition 29 campaign, the Lung Association's staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to engage voters and counter the false and misleading claims spread by the tobacco industry during their $45 million opposition campaign. This resulted in the closest-ever race for a statewide ballot initiative in California, but ultimately the proposition failed by 0.4 percent (49.8% to 50.2%) on June 5, 2012.
On the legislative front, the American Lung Association in California continued to actively press for the passage of Senate Bill 575, which would have eliminated exemptions in the state's smokefree workplace law such as for warehouses, hotel lobbies and employee break rooms. The bill was held up yet again in the Assembly's Governmental Organization Committee when the committee chair undermined its progress, and ultimately it never made it out of committee. For more updates on tobacco-related bills in California, visit the Lung Association in California's Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing at www.Center4TobaccoPolicy.org/bills-updates.
On a positive note, the Lung Association saw the success of our local and statewide efforts to make the University of California system completely smokefree. University system President Mark Yudof announced in January 2012 that all ten campuses in the system will prohibit the use of tobacco on all university grounds. The individual universities were given until December 2013 to implement policies on their campuses.
As 2013 begins, so does a new legislative session, with a new group of legislators, due to term limits. This brings with it the continued opportunity to focus our efforts on achieving expanded comprehensive cessation coverage for the 3.6 million Californians who still smoke. We also remain committed to working at the local level in communities across California to pass strong and effective tobacco control laws. And finally, in a state that was once at the forefront but is now one of only three states in the country that hasn't increased its tax since 1999, we will continue our fight to increase the tobacco tax in an effort to provide ample funding for the California Tobacco Control Program and prevent lung diseases that result from or are exacerbated by smoking.
|•||Economic Cost Due to Smoking:||$18,135,550,000|
|•||Adult Smoking Rate:||13.6%|
|•||High School Smoking Rate:||13.8%|
|•||Middle School Smoking Rate:||4.8%|
|•||Smoking Attributable Deaths:||36,684|
|•||Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths:||10,715|
|•||Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths:||10,860|
Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2010 California Student Tobacco Survey.