Health Advocates Protest Big Tobacco’s Lies

health-access-at-prop-56-rally-1Yesterday, Health Access California joined the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood, and other health and children’s advocacy groups to protect the tobacco industry’s lies about Prop 56, chanting outside the California lobbying offices of cigarette maker Altria.

Outside of Big Tobacco’s front door, 5,600 toe tags were dumped in a Marlboro covered coffin that laid between scattered body bags surrounded by dozens of supporters with signs.  The crowd stood and chanted, “Shame on you,” in unison to call out Big Tobacco’s lies, and urge voters to vote YES on Prop. 56 on November 8th.

Health Access supports this ballot initiative because it will save lives and money. In addition to tripling the amount of money going to tobacco cessation programs, Prop. 56 will raise over $1 billion to help improve Medi-Cal – a pillar of the health system on which we all rely. With one third of Californians being served under Medi-Cal, many of which are low income smokers, Prop. 56 will help off-set the 3.6 billion of dollars the state spends every year treating tobacco-related diseases. Prop. 56 also will reduce youth smoking–this proven public health approach will save many young Californians from a lifetime of addiction and premature

Big Tobacco companies like Altria display blatant hypocrisy in their arguments against Prop. 56.  They argue that not enough revenue will go towards smoking cessation programs–but in fact Prop 56 would triple the funding for such programs. Big Tobacco also fails to tell us that the rest of the funding will go directly to bolstering Medi-Cal, including treating smoking related diseases. The Prop. 56 tax itself will reduce the number of people who smoke, thus ending the cycle of addiction that will, in turn, reduce the need for smoking cessation programs in the first place. The No on Prop. 56 has now spent over $65 million on campaign ads and commercials to defeat the measure, claiming that a no vote is in the best interest of Californians, when really it is only in the best interest of the tobacco executives who know this will cut into their profits.

So remember to see past the smoky mirrors of Big Tobacco lies and vote Yes on Prop. 56 to create a healthier California!

All posts in support of Proposition 56, the November ballot measure to add a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes, are paid for by Health Access California.

Health Access California, a 501(c)4 organization, is the advocacy and campaign affiliate of Health Access Foundation, organized to advocate for health care consumers interests in the ballot initiative and legislative process.